IN TWO VOLUMES.
Oft from her careless hand the Wandring Muse
Scatters luxuriant sweets, which well might form
A living wreath to deck the brews of Time. AKON.
John Bell, Britislj.llibrarp, Strand,
Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,
DELLA CRUSCA, ANNA MATILDA,
ARLEYy BENEDICT, THE BARD,
&c. &c, &c.
REVISED AND CORRECTED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE AUTHORS.
PRINTED BY AND FOK J. I5ELL, OF THE BRITrSH
RICHARD. BRINSLET SHERIDAN, ES^
As these Poems were originally In-
scribed, by permission, with your name, I beg
leave to otfer them to you again in a more
complete, finished, and corred state.
By so doing, I not only gratify the private
sentiments of respeft, which I feel for your
charafter and talents, but I render justice also
to the superior excellence of the Poetry itself;
for those Produdlions will necessarily be allowed
to possess intrinsic merit, and to deserve their
fame, which have received the sandlion of the
best Critic, the first Scholar, and the most ad-
mired Genius of the Age.
I have the honour to be.
Your most obedient humble Servant,
Dec. 20, 1789.
■L HE reputation of the following PoEMS is so
well established, that it would be useless to say
more of them at present, than what may be ne-
cessary to gratify future curiosity. It is there-
fore sufficient to observe, that through the me-
dium of a Daily Print, they were frst pre-
sented to the Public, and obtained that general
notice, to which they are so eminently, and so
It ought, however, to be recorded, of the cele»
brated Correspondence between Del LA CrusCA
a«fl? Anna Matilda, ^//a^itsgenu'ne enthusiasm
arose entirely from poetical Sympathy ; for till
immediately before the publication of The Inter-
view, they were totally unacfjuaintcd with each
other, and reciprocally unknown.
The Adieu and Recall to Love
To Delia Crusca
To Anna Matilda
To Delia Cnisca
To Anna Matilda
Elegy, written on the plain of
Stanzas to Delia Crusca
To Anna Matilda
To Delia Crusca
Ode to Prudence
Ode to Death
Elegy on the Thirty-first of De-
Invocation to Horror
To Anna Matilda
Ode to Mrs. Siddons
Ode to Simplicity
Ode to Miss Farren
The Slaves, an Elegy
Ode to Indifference
Ode to Anna Matilda
Ode to Delia Crusca
To Anna Matilda
To Delia Crusca
To Anna Matilda
To Delia Crusca
A Tale for Jealousy
Ambitious Vengeance. A Tragic
ADIEU AND RECALL
Go, idle Boy 1 I quit thy pow'r;
Thy couch of many a thorn and flow'r;
Thy twanging bow, thine arrow keen.
Deceitful Beauty's timid mien;
The feign'd surprize, the roguish leer,
The tender smile, the thrilling tear,
Have now no pangs, no joys for me,
So fare thee well, for I am free I
Then flutter hence on wanton wing,
Or lave thee in yon lucid spring.
Or take thy bev'rage from the rose,
Or on Louisa^ s breast repose :
I wish thee well for pleasures past.
Yet bless the hour, I'm free at last.
But sure, methinks, the alterM day
Scatters around a mournful ray ;
And chilling ev'ry zephyr blows.
And ev'ry stream untuneful flows ;
Vol. I. A
THE ADIEU AND RECALL, (5c.
No rapture swells the linnet's voice.
No more the vocal groves rejoice;
And e'en thy song, sweet Bird of Eve!
With whom I lov'd so oft to grieve,
Now scarce regarded meets my ear,
Unanswer'd by a sigh or tear.
No more with devious step I choose
To brush the mountain's morning dews ;
** To drink the spirit of the breeze,"
Or wander midst o'er-arching trees ;
Or woo with undisturbed delight,
The pale-cheek'd Virgin of the Night,
That piercing thro' the leafy bow'r,
Throws on the ground a silv'ry show'r.
Alas! is all this boasted ease
To lose each warm desire to please,
No sweet solicitude to know
For others' bliss, for others' woe,
A frozen apathy to find,
A sad vacuity of mind ?
O hasten back, then, heavenly Boy,
And with thine anguish bring thy joy I
Return with all thy torments here.
And let me hope, and doubt, and fear,
O rend my heart with ev'ry pain !
But let me, let me love again.
O ! SEIZE again thy golden quill,
And with its point my bosom thrill j
With magic touch explore my heart,
And bid the tear of passion start.
Thy golden quill Apollo gave
Drench'd first in bright Aonia's wave:
He snatch'd it flutt'ring thro' the sky,
Borne on the vapour of a sigh ;
It fell from Cupid's burnish'd wing
As forcefully he drew the string ;
Which sent his keenest, surest dart
Thro' a rebellious frozen heart ;
That had till then defy'd his pow'r,
And vacant beat thro' each dull hour.
Be worthy then the sacred lean I
Seated on Fancy's air-built throne;
Immerse it in her rainbow hues,
Nor, what the Godheads bid, refuse.
Apollo, Cupid, shall inspire,
And aid thee with their blended fire.
The onCf poetic language give,
The othery bid thy passion live ;
With soft ideas fill thy lays,
And crown with Love thy wintry days!
July lo, 1787.
I KNOW thee well, enchanting Maid,
I've mark'd thee in the silent glade,
I've seen thee on the mountain's height,
I've met thee in the storms of night ;
I've view'd thee on the wild beach run
To gaze upon the setting sun ;
Then stop aghast, his ray no more,
To hear th' impetuous surge's roar.
Hast thou not stood with rapt'rous eye
To trace the starry worlds on high,
T' observe the moon's weak crescent throw
O'er hills, and woods, a glimm'ring glow :
Or, all beside some wizard stream,
To watch its undulating beam ?
O well thy form divine I know —
When youthful errors brought me woe ;
When all was dreary to behold.
And many a bosom-friend grew cold ;
6 TO ANNA MATILDA.
<s ^^ —^ • ■ ' ■ ' ■
Thou, thou unhke the summer crew
That from my adverse fortune flew,
Cam'st with melodious voice, to cheer
My throbbing heart, and check the tear.
From thee I learnt, 'twas vain to scan
The low ingratitude of Man ;
Thou bad'st me Fancy's wilds to rove,
And seek th' extatic bovv'r of Love.
When on his couch I threw me down,
I saw thee weave a myrtle crown.
And blend it with the shining hair
Of AcTj the Fairest of the Fair.
For this, may ev'ry wand'ring gale
The essence of the rose exhale.
And pour the fragrance on thy breast,
And gently fan thy charms to rest.
Soon as tlie purple slumbers fly
The op'ning radiance of thine eye.
Strike, strike again the magic lyre.
With all thy pathos, all thy fire ;
With all that sweetly-warbled grace,
Which proves thee of celestial race,
O then, in varying colours drest,
And living glory stand confest,
Shake from thy locks ambrosial dew,
And thrill each pulse of joy a-new ;
With glowing ardours rouse my soul,
And bid the tides of Passion roll.
TO ANNA MATILDA.
But think no longer in disguise
To screen thy beauty from mine eyes ;
Nor deign a borrow'd name to use,
For well I know thou art t/ie Mvse\
Thou bid*st ! — " my purple slumbers Jly I
Day's radiance pours upon my eye,
I wake — I live 1 the sense o'erpays
The trivial griefs of early days.
What I tho* the rose-bud on my cheek
Has shed its leaves, which late so sleek.
Spoke youth, and joy — and careless thought.
By guilt, or fear, or shame un-smote :
My Blooming soul is yet in youth.
Its lively sense attests the truth.
O ! I can wander yet, and taste
The beauties of the flow'ry waste ;
The nightingale's deep swell can feel.
Whilst from my lids the soft drops steal j
Rapt ! gaze upon the gem-deck'd night.
And mark the clear moon's silent flight j
Whilst the slow river's crumpled wave
Repeats the quiv'ring beams she gave.
TO DELLA CRUSCA,
Not yet, the pencil strives in vain.
To wake upon the canvas plain,
All the strong passions of the mind.
Or hint the sentiment refinM j
To its sweet magic yet I bow,
As when Youth deck'd my polish'd brow.
The chisel's feath'ry touch to trace.
Thro' the nerv'd form, or soften'd grace.
Is lent me still. Still I admire,
And kindle at the Poet's fire—
My torch, at Delia Crusca' s light.
And distant follow his superior flight.
Time! since these are left me still.
Of lesser thefts e'en take thy fill :
Yes, steal the lustre from my eye,
And bid the soft Carnation fly ;
My tresses sprinkle with thy snow.
Which boasted once the auburn glow.
Warp the slim form that was ador'd
By him, so lov'd, my bosom's Lord'
But leave me, when all these you steal,
The mind to taste ^ the nerve to feel!
Aug. 4, 1787.
And art thou then, alas! like me.
Offspring of frail mortality?
Must ruthless Time's rude touch efface
Each lovely feature's varying grace ?
And must tow'rds earth that form incline.
And e'en those eyes forbear to shine ?
Yet, when with icy hand he throws.
Amongst thine auburn locks^ his snows.
The freezing influence ne'er shall dart.
To chill thy warmly-beating heart ;
And scorning Death's oblivious hour,
Thou shalt exult— beyond his pow*r,
Methinks, as Passion drives along,
As frantic grown, I feel thy Song;
Eager I'd traverse Lybia's plain.
The tawny Lion's dread domain
To meet thee there : nor flagging /Var,
Should ever on my cheek appear ;
For e'en the Forest's King obeys
Majestic Wo man's potent gaze.
TO ANNA MATILDA. 11
Or left on some resourceless shore,
Where never ceasing billows roar ;
Which teeming clouds, and heavy hail.
And furious hurricanes assail,
Far to the Pole — while half the year.
On Ebon throne sits Night severe;
And to her solitary court.
Sea-fowl, and monsters fierce resort —
W&nthercy Matilda! there with thee,
Impending horrors all should flee;
Thy lustre of poetic ray,
Should wake an artificial day.
Sure thou wert never doom'd to know
What pangs from care, and danger flow ;
But fairest scenes thy thoughts employ.
And Art, and Science, bring thee joy.
The quick'ning sense, the throb divine,
Fancy, and feeling, all are thine ;
'Tis thine, by blushing Summer led,
A show'r of roses round thee shed,
To hie tliee forth at Morn's advance.
In wild excess of raptVous trance ;
And see the Sun's proud deluge stream,
In copious tides of golden beam;
While faint his Sister-orb on high.
Fades to a vapour of the sky,
12 TO ANNA MATILDA.
When gradual evening comes, to hide,
In sabling shades, Creation's pride.
When heaving hills, and forests drear,
And lessening tov/ns, but scarce appear;
While the last ling'ring western glow.
Hangs on the lucid lake below.
Then trivial joys (I deem) forgot.
Thou lov'st to seek the humble cot.
To scatter Comfort's balm around,
And heal pale Poverty's deep wound;
Drive sickness from the languid bed.
Raise the lorn Widow's drooping head;
Render the new-made Mother blest,
And snatch the Infant to thy breast*.
O Anna, then, if true thou say,
Thy radiant beauties steal away.
Yet shall I never fail to find
Eternal beauties in thy mind.
To those I offer up my vows,
And Love, which Virtue's self allows ;
Unknown, again thou art ador'd.
As once by him, thy bosom's " Lord."
Aug. zi, 17S7.
Written on the
PLAIN OF FONTENOY.
Chill blows the blast, and Twilight's dewy hand
Draws in the West her dusky veil awayj
A deeper shadow steals along the land,
And Nature muses at the death of Da r I
Near this bleak Waste no friendly mansion rears
Its walls, where Mirth, and social joys resound,
But each dim objefl melts the soul to tears,
While Horror treads the scattered bones around.
As thus, alone and comfortless I roam,
Wet with the driz^ing show'r; I sigh sincere,
I cast a fond look tow'rds my native home,
And think what valiant Britons perish'd here.
Yes, the time was, nor very far the date.
When carnage here her crimson toil began ;
When Nations' Standards wav'd in threatning state.
And Man the murd'rer, met the raurd'rer Man.
14 ELEGY, WRITTEN ON THB
For War is Murder, tho' the voice of Kings
Has styl'd it Justice, styl'd it Glory too !
Yet from worst motives, fierce Ambition springs,
And there, fix'd prejudice is all we view I
But sure, *tis Heaven's immutable decree,
For thousands ev'ry age in fight to fall;
Some Nat'ral Cause prevails, we cannot see.
And that is Fate, which we Ambition call.
O let th' aspiring warrior think with grief,
That as produc'd by Chymic art refin'd;
So glitt'ring Conquest, from the laurel-leaf
Extrads a gen'kal poison for Mankind.
Here let him wander at the midnight hour.
These morbid rains, these gelid gales to meet j
And mourn like me, the ravages of Pow'r I
And feel like me, that Vifl'ry is defeat I
Nor deem, ye vain ! that e'er I mean to swell
My feeble verse with many a sounding Name j
Of such, the mercenary Bard may tell.
And call such dreary desolation. Fame.
The genuine Muse removes the thin disguise,
That cheats the World, whene'er she deigns to sing ;
And full as meritorious to her eyes
Seems the Poor Soldier, as the Mighty King I
PLAIN OF FONTENOy.
Alike I shun in labour'd strain to show.
How Britain more than triumph'd, tho' she fled.
Where LOUIS stood, where stalk'd the column slow j
I turn from these, and dwell upon the Dead.
Yet much my beating breast respe6ts the brave;
Too well I love them, not to mourn their fate.
Why should they seek for greatness in the Grave ?
Their hearts are noble — and in life they're great.
Nor think 'tis but in War the Brave excel, —
To Valour ev'ry Virtue is allied f
Here faithful Friendship 'mid the Battle fell.
And Love, true Love, in bitter anguish died.
Alas ! the solemn slaughter I retrace,
That checks life's current circling thro' my veins;
Bath'd in moist sorrow, many a beauteous face;
And gave a grief, perhaps, that still remains.
I can no more — an agony too keen
Absorbs my senses, and my mind subdues;
Hard were that heart which here could beat serene,
Or the just tribute of a pang refuse.
But lo! thro' yonder op'ning clouds afar
Shoots the bright planet's sanguinary ray
That bears thy name, fictitious Lord of War!
And with red lustre guides my lonely way.
ELEGY, WRITTEN ON THE, £?C.
Then Fontenoy, farewell 1 Yet much I fear,
(Wherever chance my course compels) to find
Discord and blood — the thrilling sounds I hear,
" The noise of battle hurtles in the wind.'*
From barb'rous Turkey to Britannia's shore.
Opposing int'rests into rage increase :
Destruction rears her sceptre, tunmlts roar.
Ah I where shall hapless man repose in peace 1
oa, ,5, 1787.
Hush'd, be each ruder note ! — Soft silence
With ermine hand, thy cobweb robe around;
Attention 1 pillow my reclining head,
Whilst eagerly I catch the golden sound.
Ha ! What a tone was that, which floating near,
Seem'd Harmony's full soul — whose is the lyre ?
Which seizing thus on my enraptured ear.
Chills with its force, yet melts me with its fire.
Ah, dull of heart! thy Minstrel's touch not know,
What Bard but Della Crusca boasts such skill i
From him alone, those melting notes can flow-
He, only knows adroitly thus to trill.
Vol, L B
j8 STANZAS TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Well have I left the Groves, which sighing wave
Amidst November's blasts their naked arms,
Whilst their red leaves fall flutt'ring to their grave,
And give again to dust May's vernal charms.
Well have I left the air-embosom'd hills.
Where sprightly Health in verdant buskin plays ;
Forsaken fallow meads, and circling mills, [strays.
And thyme-dress'd heaths, where the soft flock yet
Obscuring smoak, and air impure I greet.
With the coarse din that Tread and Folly form,
For here the Muse's Son again I meet —
I catch his notes amidst the vulgar storm.
His notes now bear me, pensive, to the Plain,
Cloth'd by a verdure drawn from Britain's heart ;
Whose heroes bled superior to tlieir pain,
Sunk, crown'd with glory, and contemn'd the smart.
Soft, as he leads me round th' ensanguined fields.
The laurel'd shades forsake their grassy tomb.
The bursting sod its palid inmate yields,
And o'er th' immortal waste their spirits roam.
Obedient to the Muse the a61s revive
Which Time long past had veil'd from mortal ken,
Embattled squadrons rush, as when alive, .
And shadowy fulchions gleam o'er shadowy men.
STANZAS TO DELLA CRUSCA. I9
Ah, who art thou, who thus with frantic air
Fly'st fearless to support that bleeding youth ;
Bind'st his deep gashes with thy glowing hair.
And diest beside him, to attest thy truth ?
" His Sister I ; an orphan'd pair, we griev'd,
" For Parents long at rest within the grave,
** By a false Guardian of our wealth bereav'd— —
*' The little all parental care could save.
*' Chill look'd the world, and chilly grew our hearts^
" Oh I where shall Poverty expe6l a smile?
'* Gross lawless Love assum'd its ready arts,
«' And all beset was I, with Fraud and Guile.
<' My Henry sought the war, and drop'd the tears
" Of love fraternal as he bade farewell ;
*' But fear, soon made me rise above my fears,
" I follow'd — and Fate tolls our mutual knell."
Chaste Maiden rest j and brighter spring the green,
That decorates the turf thy bloom will feed 1
And oh, in softest mercy 'twas I ween.
To worth like thine, a Brother's grave's decreed*
The dreadful shriek of Death now darts around,
The hollow winds repeat each tortur'd sigh.
Deep bitter groans, still deeper groans resound,
Whilst Fathers, Brothers, Lovers, Husbands di'*.
STANZAS TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Turn from this spot, blest Bard I thy mental eye ;
To hamlets, cities, empires bend its beam I
*TwiU there such multiplying deaths descry.
That all before thee'll but an abstract seem.
Why waste thy tears o'er this contraded Plain ?
The sky which canopies the sons of breath.
Sees the whole Earth one scene of mortal pain.
The vast, the universal Bed of Death I
Whercf do not Husbands, Fathers, dying moan?
Whercf do not Mothers, Sisters, Orphans weep ?
WherCf is not heard the last expiring groan,
Or the deep throttle of the deathful Sleep I
If as Philosophy doth often muse,
A state of war f is natural state to martf
Battle's the sickness bravery would choose-
Noblest DISEASE in Nature's various plan I
Let vulgar souls stoop to the fever's rage.
Or slow, beneath pale atrophy depart,
With Gout and Scrophula zoeak variance wage,
Or sink, with sorrow cank'ring at the heart j
STANZAS TO DELLA CRUSCA. 21
These, be to common Minds, th' unwish'd decree !
The Firm seleft an illness more sublime ;
By languid pains, scorn their high souls to free.
But seek the Sword's swift edge, and spurn at
Satt Nov, 17th, 17S7.
On the sea-shore with folded arms I stood.
The Sun just sinking shot a level ray,
Luxuriant crimson glow'd upon the flood,
And the curi'd turf was ting'd with golden spray.
Far off I faintly track*d the feath'ry sail ;
When thy sweet numbers caught my yielded ear.
Borne on the bosom of the flutt'ring gale,
They struck my heart — and rous'd me to a tear.
Yet flow'd no bitter anguish from mine eye,
A while remembrance left my wayward state;
And the soft cadence of thy warbled sigh,
Pour'd healing balm into the wounds of Fate.
What the' grim Winter's desolating frown.
The wild waves uproar when rough Eurui blows.
The tangled forest, and the desert down.
Be all the solace Della Crusca knows:
TO ANNA MATILDA. 23
Yet from Matilda's pure celestial lire,
One ruby spark shall to his gloom be given,
Lur'd by its light, his fancy may aspire.
And catch a ray of bliss — a glimpse of Heaven*
Vain in the morn of life, and thoughtless too,
He rush'd impetuous, as strong passion drove,
But soon each flatt'ring prospect fled his view,
Deceiv'd by Friendship much, but more by Love.
Yes, he has lov'd to Transport's dire excess,
Has felt the potent eye inflidt the wound ;
Has felt the female voice each pulse oppress.
And grown a bredthless statue at the sound.
But why recall the moments that are fled ?
For ever fled, hke yonder sweeping blast ;
With Love, each adlive principle is dead,
And all, except its sad regret, is past.
Ah! had he met thee in his happier hour,
Ere yet he languish'd in the gripe of Care,
Ihy Minstrel then had fondly own'd thy pow'r,
Thy Mimtrdihtn might have escap'd Despair,
O difF'rent lot ! for he who daily grieves.
Then with thy beauty blest, and gen'rous mind,
Had not, like sallow Autumn's falling leaves.
Been shrunk, alas! and scatter'din the wind.
TO ANNA MATILDA.
Haply, he had not roam'd for ling'ring years
On many a rugged Alp, and foreign shore }
He ne'er had known the cause of all his tears,
The cherish'd cause, that bids him — hope no more.
He would have led thee with attentive gaze,
Where the brown hamlet'^ neiglib'ring shades retire.
Have hung entranc'd upon thy living lays.
And swept vi\\h feebler hand a kindred lyre.
While the dear Songstress had melodious stole
O'er ev'ry sense, and charm'd each nerve to rest.
Thy Bard, in silent ecstasy ot soul,
Had strain'd the dearer Woman to his breast.
Or had she said, that War''s the worthiest grave^
He would have felt his proud heart burn the while.
Have dar'd, perhaps, to rush among the brave.
Have gain'd, perhaps, the glory — of a smile.
And 'tis most true, while Time's relentless hand.
With sickly grasp drags others to the tomb.
The Soldier scorns to wait the dull command.
But springs impatient to a nobler doom.
Tho' on the plain he lies, outstretched and pale.
Without one friend his stedfast eyes to close.
Yet on his honour'd corse shall many a gale,
Waft the moist fragrance of the weeping rose.
TO ANNA MATILDA. 25
O'er that dread spot, the melancholy Moon
Shall pause a- while, a sadder beam to shed.
And starry Night, amidst her awful noon,
Sprinkle light dews upon his hallovv'd head.
There too the solitary Bird shall swell
With long-drawn melody her plaintive throat.
While distant echo from responsive cell,
Shall oft with fading force return the note.
Such recompense be Valour's due alone I
To me, no protfer'd meed must e'er belong.
To me, who trod the vale of life unknown.
Whose proudest boast was but an idle song.
Dec, 5, 1787.
I HATE the tardy Elegiac lay —
Choose me a measure jocund as the day !
Such days as near the ides of June
Meet the Lark's elab'rate tune,
When his downy fringed breast
Ambitious on a cloud to rest>
He soars aloft; and from his gurgling throat
Darts to the earth the piercing note —
Which softly falling with the -dews of morn
(That bless the scented pink, and snowy thorn)
Expands upon the Zephyr's wing,
And wakes the burnish'd finch, and linnet sweet to
And be thy lines irregular and free,
Poetic chains should fall before such Bards as thee.
Scorn the dull laws that pinch thee round,
Raising about thy verse a mound.
O'er which thy muse, so lofty ! dares not bound.
Bid her in verse meand'ring sport ;
Her footsteps quick, or long, or short.
Just as her various impulse wills —
Scorning the frigid square, which her fine fervour
TO DELLA CRUSCA. 2/
And in thy verse meand'ring wild,
Thou, who art ¥ ah cy's favourite Child,
May'st sweetly paint the long past hour.
When, the slave of Cupid's power,
Thou couldst the tear of rapture weep,
And feed on Agony, and banish Sleep.
Ha ! didst thou, favour'd mortal, taste
All that adorns our life's dull waste ?
Hast THOU known Love's enchanting pain^
Its hopes, its woes, and yet complain P
Thy senses, at a voice, been lost,
Thy madd'ning soul in tumults tost ?
Ecstatic wishes fire thy brain —
These, hast thou known, and yd complain ?
Thou then deserv'st ne'er more to feel; —
Thy nerves be rigid, hence, as steel I
Their fine vibrations all destroy'd,
Thy future days a tasteless void 1
Ne'er shalt thou know again to sigh.
Or, on a soft idea die ;
Ne'er on a rtcollcEiion gasp ;
Thy arms, the air- drawn charmer, never grasp.
Vapid Content her poppies round thee strew.
Whilst to the bliss of Taste thou bidst adieu 1
To vulgar comforts be thou hence confin'd,
And the shrunk bays be from thy brow untwin'd,
SS TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Thy statue torn from Cupid's hallovv'd niche
But in return thou shalt be dull, and rich ;
The Muses hence disown thy rebel lay-
But thou in Aldtrmank gown, their scorn repay ;
Crimson'd, and furr'd, the highest honours dare.
And on thy laurels tread — a Plump Lord May or I
Dec, 20, J787,
\^^HFRE didst thou hide thee, cautious Pow'r,
When first my vent'rous Youth began ?
Thou cam'st not to the festive bow'r,
Nor at the genial board wert found ;
And when the liquid grape went round,
Thou never show'dst thy warning face.
The wantonness of mirth to chase,
And tell of short lifes shad''tuy span :
Nor then didst prophesy of woe,
To chill my breast's impetuous glow ;
But provident, and shrewd, from me afar,
Thou sunk'st to sober rest, with Day's re-
'Tis true, indeed, I thought with scorn,
Thy miserable maxims quaint.
Were but of sour Suspicion born :
3© ODE TO PRUDENCE.
** Let selfish souls," I madly cried,
*' Submit to such a coward guide,
** Be't mine to seek the sportive vale,
*' With Friends, whose truth can never fail,
" And banish thence each base restraint'.'*
Dull that I was 1 feel it now,
And offer late th' imploring vow :
Too well convinc'd, who dare thy vengeance urge,
Can ne'er, alas! escape an agonizing scourge I
Ah 1 wilt thou, deign then, to receive
Thy Foe, profess'd for many a year ?
And wilt thou teach him, not to grieve ?
Forget the weakness of past time,
When frantic Passion was his crime ;
When to imperious charms a prey,
His Morn of Life stole swift away.
Yet gemm'd by Love's delicious Tear,
That bath'd his Bosom with delight;
Tho* sometimes on the Gales of Nighty
He heard thy whisper'd threat aspire.
How could he heed it then — was not his heart on fire ?
But now to gain thy frugal smile,
Each wonted transport I forego,
No more shall Beauty's self beguile,
Altho' her blue Orbs softer stream
Than the clear Moon's enchanting beam;
ODE TO PRUDENCE. 3I
Tho' her still varying charms arise.
As to the hastening Traveler's eyes,
Helvetia's summer prospects show :
Or should MEEKWoRTHtome repair.
And tell a Tale of deep Despair,
I'd strive to bid each fond emotion sleep,
Yes, I would turn awayl — but I would turn to
Then, as with decent step and hiien,
I tread the path of fair repute.
Thy Civic hand shall oft be seen.
To freight me with the sordid Ore,
Which most thy Votaries adore.
Then, then shall flagging Fancy die.
Then all my lov'd illusions fly.
Then will I break my rustic Flute :
And, as the marble-hearted crowd,
Ee vainjy rich, and meanly proud ;
Until I fix, like yonder blighted Thorny
That, deck'd with golden beams, no vernal
Thou, whose remorseless rage.
Nor vows, nor tears assuage,
Triumphant Death ! — to thee I raise
The bursting notes of dauntless praise 1
Methinks on yonder murky cloud
Thou sit'st, in majesty severe I
Thy regal robe a ghastly shroud I
Thy right arm lifts th' insatiate spear !
Such was thy glance, when, erst as from the plain.
Where Indus rolls his burning sand,
Young Ammon led the vidor train.
In glowing lust of fierce command :
As vain he cried with thund'ring voice,
" The World is mine^ rejoice, rejoice y
<' The World I've won!" Thougav'st the withering nod,
Thy FIAT smote his heart, — he sunk, — a senseless
ODE TO DEATH.
" Jndart thou great?''' — Mankind replies
With sad assent of mingling sighs I
Sighs, that swell the biting gales
Which sweep o'er Lapland's frozen vales 1
And the red TRorics' whirlwind heat
Is with the sad assent replete !
How fierce yon Tyrant's plumy crest!
A blaze of gold illumes his breast.
In pomp of threat'ning pow'r elate.
He madly dares to spurn at Fate I
But — when Night, with shadowy robe.
Hangs upon the darken'd globe,
In his chamber, — sad, — alone,
By starts, he pours the fearful groan !
From flatt'ring crowds retir'd — he bows the knee.
And mutters forth a pray'r — because he thinks of
Gayly smiles the Nuptial Bow'r,
Bedeck'd with many an od'rous flow'r j
While the spousal pair advance,
. Mixing oft the melting gaze.
In fondest ecstacy of praise.
Ah ! short delusive trance !
What tho' the festival be th^^ } —
The rapt Bard's warblings fill the air;
And joy and harmony combine !
Touch butthytalisman, and allis thineI
Vol, I. C
34 ODE TO DHATHi
Th' insensate lovers fix in icy fold,
And on his throbbing lyre, the Minstrel's hand is cold !
'Tis THOU canst quench the Eagle's sight
That stems the catara6l of light I
Forbid the vernal buds to blow-
Bend th' obedient forest low —
And tame the monsters of the main ;
Such is thy pot-ent reign !
O'er earth, and air, and sea!
Yet, art thou still disdain'd by me.
And, 1 have reason for my scorn; —
Do I not hate the rising morn j
The garish noon ; the eve serene ;
The fresh'ning breeze ; the sportive green;
The painted pleasures' throng'd resort;
And all the splendors of the court!
And has not Sorrow chose to dwell
Within my hot heart's central cell ;
And are not Hope's weak visions o'er,
Can Love, or Rapture reach me more ?
Then tho' I scorn thy stroke — I call thee Friend,
For in thy calm embrace, my weary woes shall end.
THIRTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER,
M DCC LXXXVII.
Yes, I will climb yon rough Rock's gid'ly height,
That o'er the Ocean bends his brow severe ; —
And as I muse on Time's neglected flight,
Wait the last sunshine of the parting Year 1
Why do the winds so sadly seem to rave ?
Why broods such solemn horror o'er the deep ?
It is, that Fancy points the yawning grave;
And sick'ning, shudders at the pond'rous sleep I
For O! since last December's hoary head
Bow'd to Oblivion's wave, and sunk beneath.
From this strange World whatfluttVingcrowds are fled
To throng the caverns of relentless Death !
36 ELEGY ON THE
And every transitory shade is lost,
That in its course was fondly call'd " To-day !'*
Spring's sweets are gone! and Summer's flow'ryboast!
And Autumn's purple honours pass'd away!
And now, tho' Winter, in rude mantle drest.
Extends his icy sceptre o'er the plain !
Soon shall he sink on April's dewy breast!
And laughing May shall re- assume her reign I
But Man, when once his bright day's flush is o'er,
And Youth's too-fleeting pleasure's take theirwing.
Must on life's scene re-vegetate no more.
But leap its gulph, to find a second Spring.
And can that something each man calls ** Himself,"
'Midst this wide miracle of earth and sky,
Waste the swift moments in the toil for pelf, —
Nor raise one thought to Nature's Majesty j
On the Globe's surface creep, a grov'ling worm I
Nor joy the noon-tide radiance to behold,
Nor trace the Mighty Hand that guides the storm,—.
But deem existence relative to gold ?
Ah! since this awful Now remains for me,
To think, to breathe, to wonder at the whole,
To move, to touch, to taste, to hear, to see.
To call the mystic consciousness, my Soul;
THIRTY. FIRST OF DECEMBER. 37
Fain would I seek a-while the sportive shade.
Ere the scene close upon this doubtful state ;
Catch every painted phantom ere it fade,
And leave the vast Uncertainty to Fate.
But Grief is mine — yet can I quit the crew
Whose bosoms burn with avarice and pride,
In yon blue vault to quench my thirsty view.
Or tell my feelings to the boist'rous tide.
For are there not, as journeying on we go.
With pilgrim step thro' an unfriendly vale,
Oppression, Malice, Cruelty, and Woe,
And do not Falsehood's venom'd shafts assail ?
Were it not nobler far, with social love.
As fellow-trav'llers in a rugged road,
That each the other's evils should remove.
And with joint force sustain the gen'ral load ?
O ! while such Janded happiness I trace,
A glow of gladness runs thro' ev'ry vein ;
Rapture's warm tear steals silent down my face,
And thus I wake the philanthropic strain.
Long, long, may Britain's gen'rous Isle be blest
With foreign fame, domestic joys increase;
At ev'ry insult, shake the warlike crest ;
Then weave her laurels in the Bow'r of Peace I
38 ELEGY ON THE, (Bc.
Blest be her Sons in hardy valour bold,
And all who haunt meek Learning's sacred shade;
Th' aspiring young ; and the reposing old ;
The modest matron ; and th' enchanting maid ?
And may the Bard upon himself bestow
One humble wish, that soon his cares shall end j
With the dead year, resign his weight of woe I
Or with the thorns of life, at least some roses blend I
Far bereraov'd each painted scene !
What is to me the sapphire sky f
What is to me the earth's soft dye ?
Or fragrant vales which sink between
Those velvet hills? yes, there I see^
(Why do those beauties burst on me ?)
Pearl-dropping groves bow to the sun ;
Seizing his beams, bright rivers run
That dart redoubled day :
Hope ye vain scenes, to catch the mind
To torpid sorrow all resign'd.
Or bid my heart be gay ?
False are those hopes ! — I turn — I fly.
Where no enchantment meets the eye,
Or soft ideas stray.
Horror 1 I call thee from the mouWring tower ,
The murky church-yard^ ?ii\di forsaken bowery
4© INVOCATION TO HORROR.
Where 'midst unwholesome damps
The vap'ry gleamy lamps
Oiignesfatuiy shew the thick- wove night,
Where morbid Melancholy sits,
And weeps, and sings, and raves by fits.
And to her bosom strains the fancied sprite.
Or, if amidst the ar6lic gloom
Thou toilest at thy sable loom.
Forming the hideous phantoms of Despair-
Instant thy grisly labours leave,
With raven wing the concave cleave,
Where floats, self- borne, the dense nodurnal air.
Ohl bear me to th' impending cliff.
Under whose brow the dashing skiff
Beholds Thee seated on thy rocky throne ;
There, 'midst the shrieking wild wind's roar.
Thy influence. Horror, I'll adore.
And at thy magic touch congeal to stone.
Oh I hide the Moon's obtrusive orb.
The gleams of ev'ry star absorb.
And let Creation be a moment thine!
Bid billows dash ; let whirlwinds roar,
And the stern, rocky-pointed shore,
The stranded bark, back to the waves resign I
INVOCATION TO HORROR. 41
Then, whilst from yonder turbid cloud,
Thou roll'st thy thunders long, and loud,
And Ijght'nings flash upon the deep below,
Let the expiring Seaman's, cry,
The Pilot's agonizing sigh
Mingle, and in the dreadful chorus flow !
Horror 1 far back thou dat'st thy reign;
Ere Kings th' historic page could stain
With records black, or deeds of lawless power :
Ere empires Alexanders curst,
Or Faflion, madd'ning Casars nurst,
The frighted World receiv'd thy awful dower!
Whose pen Jehovah's self inspir'd;
He, who in eloquence attir'd,
Led Israel^ squadrons o'er the earth.
Grandly terrific, paints thy birth.
Th' Almighty, 'midst his fulgent seat on high,
Where glowing Seraphs round his footstool fly,
Beheld the wanton cities of the plain.
With adls of deadly name his laws disdain j
He gave th' irrevocable sign,
Which mark'd to man the hate divine;
And sudden from the starting sky.
The Angels of his wrath bid fly I
42 INVOCATION TO HORROR.
Then, Horror ! thou presided'st o'er the whole,
And fill'd, and rapt, each self-accusing soul!
Thou didst ascend to guide the burning shower-
On Thee th' Omnipotent bestow'd the hour!
'Twas thine to scourge the sinful land,
'Twas thine to toss the fiery brand ;
Beneath thy glance the temples fell.
And mountains crumbled at thy yell.
Once more thou'lt triumph in a fiery storm;
Once more the Earth behold thy direful form;
Then shalt thou seek, as holy prophets tell,
Thy native tAronCf amidst th' eternal shades of HellX
To Thee, a Stranger dares address his theme!
To thee, proud Mistress of Apollo's lyre;
One ray emitted from thy golden gleam,
Prompted by Love, would ^* set the World on Jire."
Adorn then Love, in fancy-tinftur'd vest,
Camelion like, anon of various hue ;
By " PenserosOf' and " Allegro'^ drest—
Such Genius claim' d, when she Idalia drew,
I seethe Pencil on the canvas shine!
Reynolds admires! — in Science then proceed;
The name of Pody Painter ^ both are thine.
We view the speaking painting — as we read,
Midst the proud fervor of the day.
Whilst the sun darts a torrid ray.
The humble daisy sinks her head
And faints upon her lowly bed ;
But when moist eve hath quench'd his fire.
And treads the fields in cool attire,
The daisy spreads again her bloom.
And offers up her mild perfume.
Thus your recuscitating praise.
Breathed life upon my dying lays.
Reynolds admires ! flatt'ry so sweet.
With blushing vanity I meet ;
But, Bard polite! how hard the task.
Which with such elegance you ask.
When Dido bade Eneas tell
The woes he knew to paint so well —
Did he not tell the Queen, she tore
His closing wounds, and drew fresh gore
From stabs that time had almost heal'd ? —
Such, Reuben, such, the thorn conceal'd,
TO REUBEN. 45
Within your verses' flow'ry spell,
Which, barb'rous I dares my pen compel.
Yet how describe the various god,
T' whom Proteus' self's a heavy clod ?
Diff'ring in ev'ry difF'ring heart,
Scorning to play a constant part.
A tygerl — tyrant ! — such is he.
Whom painted with bandeau you see.
With downy wings, and childish face,
As tho' of the blest Cherub's race
But oh ! a serpent in disguise,
And as the lynx, his piercing eyes!
A raging fire, a deadly pain.
That gentlest heart-strings most will strain }
A fever, tempest, madness he
Of all life's ills A dread Epitome !
Hal dost thou fear, and wilt thou run ?
The little monster try to shim }
And wilt thou Reuben, too succeed
And shall thy bosom never bleed.
Never his poison'd rankling dart
Quiver within thy burning heart?
Oh, hapless man ! — oh, wretched fate I
Fly to Love's altar ere too late.
And deprecate the doom accurst,
Or bid that heart with sorrow burst.
46 TO REUBEN.
Welcome the deadly fiery pain,
That gentlest heart-strings most will strain —
Madness is his — but 'tis replete
With all that makes life's blessings svveet;
A Tyrant he, but oh 1 his chains
Are richer than an empire's gains!
Svveet, the delirium which by love is spread,
Whate'er the paths his raptur'd vot'ries tread!
He paints the mist which hangs upon the eve.
With colours clearer than the sun can give ;
'Tis he who lends the nightingale its trills,
When her rich pipe the Empyrean fills;
Oh! 'tis the softness in his heart
Which makes the Lover in her song take part,
And faint upon each touching pause,
And lengthen out each added clause.
Till rapt attention, strain'd too high,
Rolls down its gushing tear, and breathes its gentle
Charming to Love is Morning's hour,
When, from her chrystal roseate tow'r.
She sees the Goddess Health pursue
The skimming breeze thro' fields of dew;
Charmingj the flaming hour of noon,
When the sunk Linnet's fading tune
Allures him to the beechy grove ;
Or when some cragg'd grotesque alcove
TO REUBEN, 47
Sounds in his ear its tinkling rill,
And tempts him to its moss-grown sill ;
Most charm'd when on his tranced mind
Is whisper'd in the passing wind
The name of her, whose name is bliss;
Or when he all unseen can kiss
The fringed bank where late she lay,
Hidden from th' imperious day.
Oh, ye rapt glades, which glitt'ring Luna decks,
Whose stretching shadows her refulgence checks I
Oh, ye soft floods, that hang upon the peak
Of lofty rocks, and bound in wanton freak.
Where thirsty meads your rushing streamlets crave
And crowd their fiow'rs around to drink yourwave —
What are ye all, should love withhold the dart
Which wakes nice feelings in the torpid heart ?
Where is the heart, that would such feelings fly.
Or fear th' inchanting, madd'ning cup to try ?
Must I speak more of love ! the boundless theme
Might run beyond the edge of life's short dream :
His spells are blessings — witch'ries so sublime.
They triumph o'er distress, and fate, and time.
Would'st ask the joys of love ? Oh 1 change the
Thou little know'st his pow'r, to fasten there!
48 TO REUBEN.
Let the mean bosom crave its lovers returuy
Thine shall with more distinguish 'd ardors burn j
To know the passion — yes, be that thy strain.
Invoke the god of the mysterious pain ?
Whate'er thy nature — gentle — fiery — rough —
To LOVE — learn but to love — and thou hast bliss
Thee, Queen of Pathos, shall my proud Verse
Illustrious SiDDONS I should I go,
Whether to Zembla's waste of snow,
Or /Etna's cavern *d height, or Tempe'i vaunted vale j
Or where on Caucasus the fierce storm blows.
Or near the violated flood
Of Ganges, blushing oft with blood ;
Or where his rainbow arch loud Niagara throws.
For, not th* exulting Monarch on his throne,
Tho' grateful nations round him bow,
Is more a Potentate than thou : [own ;
Feeling, and Sense, and Worth, and Virtue, are thy
And e'en thy mighty spell the soul can sway :
While Sympathy with melting eye.
Hangs on thy bosom's fervid sigh, [stray.
And finds th' unbidden tear down her hot cheek to
rol. I, D
ODE TO MRS. SIDDONS.
Lo I at thy voice, from solitary cave,
With hair ereft, peeps forth pale Fear,
Nor will he longer wait to hear,
But flies with culprit haste a visionary grave.
Amongst the hollow mountain's shadowy cells,
Dark-brozu'd Revenge, that strangely walks,
And to himself low-mutt'ring talks.
While with convulsive throb his breast unsated swells.
And gelid Horror in the haunted hall.
That with dread pause, and eye stretch'd wide,
Marks the mysterious speftre glide,
Nor dare his flagging knees obey the Phantom's call.
And lost Despair with desolating cry.
That head-long darts from some tall towV
On fire, at thick Night's saddest hour,
When not a watchman wakes, and not an aid is nigh.
These ozvn thy pow^r — and barefoot Madness too.
Dancing upon the flinty plain,
As tho' ^twere gay to suffer pain.
That sees his tyrant Moon, and raving runs to woo.
Alike the mild, benevolent desires.
That wander in the pensive grove.
Pity, and generous-minded Love,
Tp tjirill fhy kindred pulse, shoot thejr electric fires.
ODE TO MRS. SIDDONS. 51
Ah I let not then my fond admiring Muse
Restrain the ardor of her song,
In silent wonder fix'd so long,
Nor thou ! from humble hands the homage meet refuse.
And I will hasten oft from short repose.
To wake the lily, on moist bed
Reclining meek her folded head ;
And chase with am'rous touch the slumber of the rose.
Then will I bathe them in the tears of Morn,
That they, a fresher gale may breathe,
Then will I form a votive wreath.
To bind thy sacred brows, — to deprecate thy scorn.
But should'st thou still disdain these profFer'd lays.
Which choak'd, alas 1 with weedy woe.
Like yon dull stream can scarcely flow —
Take from Britannia's Harp, the Triumph of thy
O COME, ye fragrant gales that sweep
The surface of the Summer deep,
Nor yet refuse to waft my lay,
And with it fan the breast of May ;
For humble though it be,
It hails benign Simplicity.
Why do we haunt the Mountain's side.
Ere yet the curly vapours glide ?
Why mark the op'ning buds of Spring,
Or trace the bhrill Lark's quiv'ring wing ?
It is, that then we see
Hctk Nature's swut Simplicity,
ODE TO SIMPLICITY. 53
The length'ned shades that Evening draws,
Of calm repose the gen'ral pause,
The Stream that winds yon meads along,
The Nightingale's transcendent song.
Borrow each charm from thee,
soft-efd Nymphf Simplicity !
Then to thy brow, lov'd Wells 1 is due,
A lasting wreath, of various hue.
Hung with each perfum'd flow'r that blows,
But chief, the Cowslip dindi the Rose:
For surely thou art she !
Th Y s E L F — benign Simplicity !
And when thy Mimic Pow'rs are shewn,
Each other's talents are thy own^
Appropriate to thyself we find.
The thrilling voicey the woundtd mind j
The starting tear we see
In Nature's pure Simplicity.
Hast thou beheld the infant Moon
Hie to her couch, ere Night's full noon ?
Then hast thou heard the Lover-train,
In tones of sad regret complain j
So absent, all agree.
To mourn for lost Simplicity.
5.4. ODE TO SIMPLICITY, &C.
So when upon thy well-wrought scene,
The curtain drops its closing green.
We grieve the mirthful hour is past.
And murmur that it fled so fast j
We wish again to see
The Beauties of Simplicity,
And Loveliness delights to dwell.
Upon thy bosoms's snowy swell.
To bid the streamy lightnings fly.
In liquid peril from thine eye ;
And to each heart decree
The Triumph of Simplicity »
Ah ! tho' I vent'rous pour the verse,
Unskill'd thy praises to rehearse ;
Yet may'st thou kindly smile to hear,
For O, the Tribute is sincere 1
The ofF'ring paid by me,
In genuine Truth's Simplicity.
From her own gar deny Beauty chose,
Tn all its bloomy pride, the Rose,
And from the feather'd race, the Dove ;
Then, Farren I on thy cheek she threw
The blushing Flow'r's enchanting hue,
Then form'd thy Temper from the Bird of Love.
Ah ! though I'm doomed to roam afar.
Yet shall the Morning's beamy star,
Yet shall the placid glow of Eve
Recall thy charms to bless my mind :
Dear charms I with dearer virtues join'd.
So shall my heart at times forget to grieve.
56 ODE TO MISS FARREN.
And often will I loit'ring stay,
Till the dark mountains veil the Day,
While thus delicious Fancy cheers —
For then more sweet on ev'ry plain
The Linnet trills her farewell strain,
And then more lovely Nature's self appears.
And sure the happy Youths who gaze
Upon thine Eyes resistless blaze,
Where gay Life'?> polish'd circles shine.
Or view amid the Comic Scene,
Thy dimpled smiles, and graceful mien,
Shall find " their bosoms sympathize with mine.'*
Whether thou show'st with matchless skill,
Unsteady Fashion's froward will.
As heartless Maid, or heedless Wife,
Truth, Nature, Sentiment prevail.
And through the Mirth-inspiring Tale,
All Fiction seems absorb'd in real Life.
Oh, what delight to hourly trace
The fine expression of thy Face,
Thy winning elegance, and ease ;
To see those teeth, of lust'rous pearl.
Thy locks profuse of many a curl.
And hear thy voice, omnipotent to please I
ODE TO MISS FARREN. 57
With thee to pace the mountain's side,
Or mark the rushy riv'let glide,
That murm'ring rolls a scanty stream ;
*Till winding in the vale below,
It seems t* exult with vainer glow,
And gayly wanton in the lunar beam.
Still might the seasons change with thee,
Not Winter's self could dreary be.
Nor sultry Summer's heats offend.
The howling winds the pelting show'r.
Could not disturb my rapt'rous hour,
Nor ever gloom my mind — with such a friend.
At midnight then no more I'd stand.
Where Ocean's surges lash the land,
Nor fondly list the Screech-owl's tongue
Ah me! I dream — th' illusion's o'er —
Henceforth in silence I'll adore.
And thou, sweet Nymph I forgive the ardent song.
If late I paus'd upon the Twilight plain
Of FoNTENOY, to weep the Free-born Brave;
Sure Fancy now may cross the Western Main,
And melt in sadder pity for the Slave.
Lo ! where to yon Plantation drooping goes.
The Sable Herd of Human Kind, while near
Stalks a pale Despot, and around him throws
The seourge that wukes—=that punishes the Tear.
O'er the far Beach the mournful murmur strays.
And joins the rude yell of the tumbling tide.
As faint they labour in the solar blaze,
To feed the luxury of British Pride I
TH^ SLAVES. AN ELEGY. 59
E*en at this moment, on the burning gale
Floats the weak wailing of the female tongue;
And can that Sex's softness nought avail —
Must naked Woman shriek amid the throng ?
Are drops of blood the horrible Manure
That fills with luscious juice, the teeming Cane ?
And must our fellow-creatures thus endure.
For traffic vile, th' indignity of pain >
Yes, their keen sorrows are the sweets we blend
With the green bev'rage of our morning meal.
The while to love meek Mercy we pretend.
Or fovJiGitious ills affeft to feel.
Yes, 'tis their anguish mantles in the bowl,
Their sighs excite the Briton's drunken joy;
Those igTC rant suffWers know not of a Soul,
That we enlightened may its hopes destroy.
And there are Men, who leaning on the Laws,
What they have purchas'd, claim a right to hold —
Curs'd be the tenure, curs 'd its cruel cause—
Freedom's a dearer property than gold!
6o THE SLAVES. AN ELEGY.
And there are Men, with shameless front have said.
That Nature forrrC d the NEGROEsyor Disgrace ,
That on their limbs subjedion is display' d
The doom of slav'ry stampt upon their face.
Send your stern gaze from Lapland to the Line,
And ev'ry Region's natives fairly scan,
Their forms, their force, their faculties combine,
And own the vast variety of Man 1
Then why suppose Yourselves the chosen few.
To deal Oppression's poison'd arrows round,
To gall with iron bonds the weaker crew.
Enforce the labour, and inflicl; the wound ?
'Tis Sordid In t' rest guides you ; bent on gain,
In profit only can ye reason find ;
And pleasure too : — but urge no more in vain,
The selfish subject, to the social mind.
Ah ! how can He, whose daily lot is grief.
Whose mind is vilify'd beneath the Rod,
Suppose his Maker has for him relief.
Can he believe the tongue that speaks of God?
THE SLAVES. AN ELEGY. 6t
For when he sees the Female of his Heart,
And hislov'd daughters torn by Lust away,
His sons, the poor inheritors of smart [pray ?
Had he Religion, think ye he could
Alas ! He steals him from the loathsome shed,
Whattime moistMidnight blows her venom'd breath,
And musing, how he long has toil'd and bled,
Haste, haste, ye Winds, on swiftest pinions fly,
Ere from this World of Misery he go.
Tell him his wrongs bedew a Nation's Eye,
Tell him, Britannia blushes for his Woe I
Say, that in future, Negroes shall be blest,
Rank'd e'en as Men, and Men's just rights enjoy ;
No more be eitlier Purchas'd, or Oppress'd
No griefs shall wiiher, and no stripes destroy 1
Say, that fair Freedom bends her Holy Flight
To cheer the Infant, and console the Sire ;
So shall Ue^ wond'ring, prove at last, delight.
And in a throb of ecstacy expire.
62 THE SLAVES. AN ELEGY.
Then shall proud Albion's Crown, where Laurels
Torn from the bosom of the raging sea, [twine.
Boast 'midst the glorious leaves, a Gem divine.
The radiant Gem of Pure Humanity !
If ever for fiftitious grief
My soul a transient sorrow knew ;
If sometimes I have heav'd a sigh.
But to behold the virgin leaf
Of the lost Lily with'ring die ;
Sure tend'rest sympathy is due
To Thee, from whom each cherish'd bliss is fled.
Who mourn'st by day and night, thy own Maria
O T ! in the murm'ring gale,
Oft have I found thy plaintive voice prevail ;
When the wet fingers of the morn, [thorn ;
Shook the cold pearl-drops from the bending
Or, when, at close of day,
To the lone vale I took my way.
64 MONODV. ADDRESSED TO
The sad vibration oi faint EcHO'5 breathy
Brought to my heart the dirge of Death.
Then all dejeded, have I paus'd to hear,
And felt a kindred pang sincere ;
Sincere as erst thy Father'' s Parent provM,
When for the * Friend he lov'd,
He wove a cypress wreath, and pour'd the verse.
That sooth'd the Poet's shade, and hung upon
Ah! let me take my simple reed^
And seek the moonlight mead ;
Or where 'mongst rocks, the headlong stream.
Flashes the lucid beam :
Woo calm Reflection in her sober bow'r,
As pond'ring at the midnight hour.
She flings her solace on each passing wind.
That wafts the heavenly balm to heal the wounded
So may her mighty spell.
Thy desolating anguish quell,
So may'st thou quit at length the Forest's gloom ;
Nor thus for ever dwell upon the Sainted Tomb.
O think, when wand'rnig on the shore,
Thou mark'st with musing eye.
O'er the rude cliffs the tempest fly.
And rouse to sudden rage the howling main.
Think, she thou lov'sty has left a World,
Where jarring elements are hurl'd,
MR. T - 65
And where contending atoms roar,
To join, 'midst endless joy, th' adoring Seraph's
Yes, she was mild and lovely as the star
That in the Western hemisphere afar.
Lifts its pure lamp above the mountain's head.
To light meek Evening to her dewy bed.
And as the waning Moon displays,
With mirror clear, Morn's rising rays,
She, in decay, show'd Virtue's Orb refin'd,
Refle6ledyazVfr from her angel mind;
'Till at the last, too fierce a blaze was given.
And then she shrunk from sights and faded into
Yet do not mourn, be grief away,
For see how swift the dark clouds go j
Soon silence drinks the Linnet's lay.
And yonder sapphire waves shall cease to flow,
Scared by the hissing brand.
Of thirsty Summer's sultry hand. ;
From the lorn wood the leaves descend.
And all of Nature y as of Art ^ must end.
Sad Consolation, true! yet why,
If soon must close the languid eye.
Since a short moment but remains.
For all our fears, and all our pains.
Why should we fondly brood on care,
Ah ! why devote us to despair !
VoL I. E
66 MONODY. ADDRESSED TO, &C.
But Time assiduous loves to urge
Our footsteps to his utmost verge,
Because that there a rapt'rous scene appears, |
Where Anguish never throbs y nor Sorrow sinks
Meanwhile, forbear not to disclose,
The Scions of that beauteous Stem ;
And tho' the Parent Rose,
Was prematurely lost,
By a remorseless frost ;
O view the op'ning Buds, and smile at least for
Oh Nymph, long sought of placid mien,
With careless steps, and brow serene !
I woo thee from the tufted bowers,
Where listless pass thy easy hours
Or, if a Kaiadc of the silver wave
Thou rather lov'st thy pearly limbs to lave
In some clear lake, whose fascinating face
Lures the soft willow to its pure embrace j
Or, if beneath the gelid rock
Thy smiles all hutnan sorrows mock,
Where'er thou art, in earth or air,
Oh ! come, and chase ihtjiend Dlspair !
Have I not mark'd thee on the green
Roving, by vulgar eyes unseen ?
Have I not watchM thy lightsome dance
When Evening's soften'd glows advance ?
68 TO INDIFFERENCE.
Dear Goddess, yes ! and whilst the Rustic's mirth ]
Proclaims the hour which gives wild gambols birth.
Supine, I've found thee in the elm row's shade,
LuU'd by the hum returning bees have made,
Who, chary of their golden spoils.
Finish their fragrant, rosy toils,
With rest-inviting slumb'rous song,
As to their waxen couch they throng.
Chaste Nymph I the Temple let me seek
Where thou resid'st in lustre meek;
My future' life to thee I give
Irradiate ev'ry hour I live !
*Tis true no glowing bliss thy vot'ries know.
From thee no poignant ecstacy can flow.
But oh ! thou shield'st the heart from rankling pain-y
And Misery strikes^ when blest with thee, in vain ;
Wan Jealousy'^ empoisoning tooth,
And Lovcy which feeds upon our youth.
And holy Friendship''^ broken tie,
Ne'er dim the lustre of thy eye.
For thee, it is, all Nature blooms,
For thee, the spring new charms assumes.
Nor vainly flings her blossoms round.
Nor vainly bids her groves resound ;
Her music, colours, odours, all are thine,
To thee her months their richest gifts consign ;^
TO INDIFFERENCE. 69
To thee the morn is bright, and sweet the ray-
That marks the progress of the sinking day ;
Each change is grateful to thy soul.
For its Jine taste no woes controul,
The powers of Nature, and of Art,
Alike entrance the easy heart.
And oh I beneath thy gentle dome
Which the calm comforts make their home,.
That cruel imp is never found
Whose fame such idle songs resound—
Dread Sensibility ! — Oh! let me fly
Where Greenland darkness drinks the beamy sky.
Or where the Sun, with downward torrid ray
Kiiisf with the barb'rous glories of the day I
I'd dare th' excess of ev'ry clime.
Grasp ev'ry evil known by Time,
Ere live beneath that Witch's spells
With whom no lasting pleasure dwells.
Her lovely form deceives the heart,
The tear, for ever prompt to start,
The tender look, the ready sigh,
And soft emotion always nigh ;
And yet Content th' insidious fiend forbids — —
Oh I she has torn the slumbers from my lids :
Oft rous'd my torpid sense to living woe.
And bid chill anguish to my bosom grow.
She seals her prey ! — in vain the Spring
Wakes Rapture, thro' her groves to sing ;
The roseate Morn's hygean bloom,
Fades down, immark'dy to Evening's gloom.
Oh Sensibility ! thy sceptre sad
Points, where theyrfl?z/zc^/<2«c^ proclaims the mad!
Strain'd to excess, Reason ischain'd thy slave,
Or the poor vi<^lim shuns thee in the grave ;
To thee each crime, each evil owes its birth,
That in gigantic horror treads the earth I
Savage untam'd! she smiles to drink our tears.
And where's no solid ill^ she wounds W\\\\ fears \
Riots in sighs, is sooth'd when most v/e smart —
Now, while she guides my pen, her fang's within my
Jan. 16. 1788.
O CEASE Matilda ! Cease the strain,
That wooes Indifference to thy arms ;
For what are all her boasted charms ?
But only to be free from pain !
And vvould'st thou then, her torpid ease,
Her listless apatiiy to know,
Renounce the magic pow'r to please ;
And lose the Luxury of Woe ?
Why does thy stream of sweetest song,
In many a wild maze wind along ;
Foam on the Mountain's murm'ring side ;
Or thro' the vocal covert glide ;
Or among fairy meadows steal ? —
It is because thy Heart can feel I
Alas I if Peace must be unknown.
Till ev'ry nerve is turn'd to stone.
Till not a tear-drop wets the eye ;
Nor throbs the breast for Sorrow's sigh.
72 ODE TO ANNA MATILDA.
may I never find relief,
But PERISH, in the Pang of Grief!
Think not I reason thus, my Fair !
A stranger to corroding Care I
Ah 1 if Ihouy seldom find'st repose,
** y, rest not on a bed of rose.'*
Despair, cold Serpent, loves to twine
About this helpless heart of mine I
Yet, tho' neglected and forlorn,
1 scarce can check the smile of Scorn,
When those the Vulgar call the Great,
Bend the important brow of state;
And strive a consequence to find
By seeming more than Human kind.
Well, let them strut their hour away,
Till grinning death demand his prey !
Meanwhile, my Anna! let us rove
The scented vale, the bending grove.
Mix our hot tears with evening dews.
And live for Friendship and the Muse \
Yes, let us hasten hand in hand.
Where the blue billows lave the land.
And as they quick recoiling fly.
Send on the surf a lengthen'd sigh.
That strikes the soul, with truth sublime,
As 'twere the whisp'ring Tongue of Time;
ODE TO ANNA MATILDA. 73
For thus our short Life's ebbing day
Murmurs awhile, and hastes away !
Or let us seek the mould'ring wall
Of some lone Abbey's Gothic Hall;
Recline upon the knee- worn stone,
And catch the North Wind's dismal moan.
That 'midst his sorrows, seems to boast
Of many a gallant vessel lost !
Friends and Lovers sunk in death—
By the fury of his breath !
What tho' at the imagined Tale,
Thy alter'd cheek be sadly pale j
Ne'er can such Sympathy annoy;
For 'tis the price of dearest Jo y I
When far ofFthe Night Storm flies,
Let us ponder on the Skies !
Where countless stars are ever roU'd,
Which yet our weak eyes dare behold ;
Adore the self-existing Cause
That gives to each its separate laws;
That, when th' impetuous Comet runs
Athwart a wilderness of Suns ;
Tells it what mandate to obey,
Nor ever wander from its way ;
Till back it hastens whence 'twas brought,
Beyond the boundaries of Thought !
74 ODE TO ANNA MATILDA.
Let not the studious Seer reply,
** AttratUon regulates the Sky^
** And lends each. Orb the secret force,
** That urges on, or checks its course."
Or with his Orrery expound
Creation's vainly fancied round.
Ah 1 quit thy toil, presumptuous Sage I
Destroy thy calculating page j
No more on Second Causes plod ;
'Tis not Attraction, but 'tis God!
And what the Universe we call.
Is but a Point, compar'd to All.
Such Bliss the sensate bosom knows,
Such bliss IndifF'rence ne'er bestows ;
Tho' small the circle we can trace,
In the abyss of time and space,
Tho' Learning has its limits got.
The feelings of the soul have not.
Their vast excursions find no end ;
And Rapture needs not comprehend!
'Tis true, we're ignVant how the Earth
Wakes the first principles of birth,
With vegetative moisture feeds
To difF'rent purpose, diff'rent seeds ;
Gives to the Rose, such balmy sweet.
Or fills the golden ear of Wheat,
ODE TO ANNA MATILDA. '] $
Paints the ripe Peach with velvet bloom,
Or weaves the thick Wood's mingling gloom ; —
Yet, we can w^ander in the bow'r ;
Can taste the fragrance of the fiow'r ;
Drink the rich fruit's nedareous juice,
And bend the harvest to our use. —
Then give thy pure perceptions scope.
And sooth thy heaving heart with hope.
Hope shall instruO: my sorr'wing Friend ;
The soiil*^ fine fervour ne'er can end ;
But when her limbs by Death are laid
Beneath some yew-tree's hallow'd shade,
Then shall her soaring spirit know
The Seraphim's ecstatic glow.
Then shall th' essential Mind confess,
That ANGUISH has the pow'r to bless,
That Feeling was in Bounty given,
And own the Sacred Truth — in Heaven.
Jan. 30, J 788.
O THOU I
Who from " a wilderness of Suns^*
Canst stoop to where the low brook runs !
Thro' space with rapid comets glow ;
Or mark where, soft, the snow-drops grow !
Whose burning Pen now rapture paints 1
Then moralizes, cold, with Saints!
Now trembling ardors can infuse
Then, seems as dipp'd in cloister'd dews— —
O say! thy Being quick declare ?
Art thou a Son of Earth, or Air ?
Celestial Bard 1 though thy sweet song
Might to a Seraph's strains belong.
Its wondrous beauty, and its art
Can only toucA, not change, my heart.
ODE TO DELLA CRUSCA. 77
So Heaven-sent WghVnmg powerless plays.
And wanton, throws its purple rays ;
It leaps thro' Night's scarce pervious gloom
Attra6led by the Rose's bloom,
Th' illumin'd shrub then quiv'ring round,
It seems each scented bud to wound ;
Morn shakes her locks, and see the Rose
In renovated beauty blows !
Smiles at the dart which past away.
And flings her perfume on the day.
Thy light'ning Pen 'tis thus I greet.
Fearless its subtle point I meet ;
Ne'er shall its spells my sad heart move,
From the calm state it vows to love.
All other bliss I've prov'd is vain —
All other bliss is dash'd with pain.
My waist with myrtles has been bound,
My brow with Laurels has been crown*d;
Love, has sigh'd hopeless at my feet,
Love, on my couch, has pour'd each sweet;
All these I've known, and now I fly
With thee, Indifference, to diet
Nor is thy gift " dull torpid ease,**
The Mind's quick powers thou dost not freeze :
No 1 blest by Thee, the soul expands,
And darts o'er new- created lands ;
78 ODE TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Springs from the confines of the earth
To where new systems struggle into birth j
The germ of future Worlds beholds,
The secrets of dark space unfolds :
Can watch how far th' Erratic runs,
And gaze on Della Crusca's Suns ;
In some new Orb can meet *' his starry maily^
And him, on earth unknown, in Heaven with transport
Feb, 2, 1788.
Nor will I more of Fate complain ;
For I have liv'd to feel thy strain ;
To feel its sun -like force divine,
Swift darting through the clouds of woe,
Shoot to my soul a sainted glow.
Yet, yet, Matilda, spare to shine !
One moment be the blaze supprest I
Lest from this clod my spirit spring.
And borne by Zephyrs' trembling wing,
Seek a new Heaven upon thy breast.
But say, does calm Indifference dwell
On the low mead or mountain swell,
Or at grey Evening's solemn gloom.
Bend her bosom to the tomb ?
Or when the weak dawn's orient rose.
In silv'ry foliage deck'd, appears j
Tell me, if perchance she goes
To the fresh garden's proud array.
Where, doubtful of the coming day.
Each drooping flow'ret sheds translucent tears.
8o TO ANNA MATILDA.
Ah ! tell me, tell me where,
For thou shalt find me there f
Like her own son, in vestment pure.
With deep disguise of smile secure :
So shall I once thy form descry,
For once, hold converse with thine eye.
Vain is the thought, for at thy sight,
Soon as thy potent voice were found.
Could I conceal the vast delight,
Could I be tranquil at the sound,
Could I repress quick Rapture's start,
Or hide the bursting of my heart ?
Let but thy lyre impatient seize.
Departing Twilight's filmy breeze.
That winds th' enchanted chords among.
In lingering labyrinth of song :
Anon, the amorous Bird o/Woey
Shall steal the tones that quiv'ring flow,
And with them sooth the sighing woods.
And with them charm the slumb'ring floods ;
Till, all exhausted by the lay.
He hang in silence on the spray,
Drop to his idol flow'r beneath.
And, 'midst her blushes, cease to breathe. *
Warn'd by his Fate, 'twere surely well.
To shun the fascinating spell ;
* This alludes to the idea of the Nightingale being enamoured of the Rote)
frequently expressed in Pertian Poetry.
TO ANNA MATILDA. 8l
Nor still, presumptuous, dare to fling
My rude hand o'er the sounding string ;
As though I fondly would aspire,
To match Matilda's heavenly fire.
Yet may I sometimes, far remote,
Hear the lov'd cadence of her note,
And though the Laurel I resign,
O may the bliss o/" Taste be mine!
March 5, 1788.
** I Deei calm Indifference divelly
** On the low mead, or mountain swell?
" tell me where^
" For thou shaltfind me there.''''
To BELLA CRUSCJ.
Yes, on the mountain's haughty swell,
And in the prostrate dell,
And where the Dryades fling their shades
There may'st thou meet the Maid serene,
Or trace her on the zephyr'd green,
Whilst Day's carnation gently fades.
Doth Nature make the prospe(!?l vast,
With rocks o'erhang, and rivers cast.
Tumbling headlong to their base ?
Do seas stretch out their foamy plains.
Compelling with their chrystal chains
Wide Continents t' embrace ?
Allthtse attract the smooth brow'd fair;
Or where can Art evince her powers.
Where Science strew immortal flowers,
And gay Indifference — haste not there ?
Whilst Passion narrows up the heart.
Taste can no ray of bliss impart,
TO D^LLA CRUSCA. 83
One strong idea grasps the mind,
Extends itself thro' all the soul,
Thro' ev'ry vein its furies roll,
And tears with fangs unkind.
When Newton trod the starry roads,
And view'd the dwellings of the Gods,
And measur'd every Orb
Did silly Love his steps attend,
His mighty purposes suspend.
Or his grand mind absorb ?
When intellectual Locke explor'd
The Soul's sad vacuum, where no hoard
Of budding young ideas lay
Oh tell, thus rob'd in Wisdom's stole,
Did Love's coarse torch his view control,
Or light him in the darksome way?
Ha! Della Crusca, cease to feign,
Thy cheek with red repentance stain.
For having feign'd so long;
Quick seize thy Lyre, sweep each bold string,
O'er every chord thy music fling
To calm Indifference raise the Song!
Propitiate first, tlien with her haste
O'er the Globe's peopled, motley waste ;
Watch Character where-e'er it runs;
Drink newer air, see fiercer suns ;
TO DELLA CRUSCA,
Seek the bland realms where first the Morn
Pours dawn-light from her beamy horn ;
Pours scent and colours o*er the vale,
And wakes its song, and wakes its tale.
Mark how Confucius' feeble race,
(Whose records vast fail not to trace)
To Imitation still confine
Their powers, nor deviate from its line.
Their fourteen thousand glowing springs
Passing thro' their yearly rings,
Not one Suggestion left behind,
No Art, nor Virtue more refin'd ;
Philosophy no inroads made.
But mute, within its awful shade,
Its thoughts occult arrang'd
Whilst Learning, blindfold in its pen,
This costly precept gave to men —
*' Be wise, but be unchanged.'''
Haste! — leave th' insipid herd — away !
Where Eg ypt'j sons imbrown the day.
For there primeval Wisdom form'd her wreath,
And Science first was taught to breathe.
O linger here I the Classic clime
Demands, and will reward thy time.
Here shalt thou seek th' immortal Dome
Where Pleasure triumph'd over Rome ;
TO DELLA CRUSCA. 85
And tread where Cleopatra trod,
And moisten with thy tear the sod
Where Taste and Love their banners wav'd,
Snatching from the grave Old Time
Whose life fast-fading, Rapture sav'd,
And Phoenix-like renevv'd its prime.
Then find the myrtled tomb,
The now unenvied Lover's home ;
But, lest thy pensive steps should stray,
To guide thee in the unknown way.
The Moon her bright locks quick unshrouds,
Her veil of gossamour, thin clouds,
Dissolves to air, and her soft eye
Thro' the Palm Grove's haughty shade.
And the lofty Aloed glade
Shall guide thee where thy long-ow'd sigh
Breath'd o'er the mingling Lover's dust.
Shall gratify their hov'ring souls
Beyond an Empire's votive Bust.
Is a soft willow bending near,
Whose drooping leaves speak grief sincere ?
Its drooping leaves, ah ! instant seize.
The happy violence will please-
Bend its tender flaccid boughs
(Murm'ring soft mysterious vows)
Into garlands — leave them there
Offerings to the love-lost pair!
85 TO DELLA CRUSCA.
These duties paid, with Hng'ring look,
With heart by silent Sorrow shook.
The marbled desert next explore
Where Beauty's glance, and Learning's lore,
Ages long past the soul beguil'd
Oh think ! in that unletter'd wild
LoNGiNUS wrote, Zenobia smil'dl
Where now a humbled column lies,
Stream'd radiance from impassion'd eyes ;
The roof where odious Night Birds rest,
Once shelter'd Wit, once echo'd Jest ;
Where Peasants cumbrous oxen stall,
Therpsichore swam through the ball ;
Serpents convolve, where Music trill'd,
And lost Palmyrah fate's fulfill'd.
Doth splendid scenes thy light heart prize ?
Fly to Italia's downy skies !
Where Fancy's richest strokes abound.
Where Natures happiest points are found ;
The pleasures here — a rosy band !
Link'd to her car with flow'ry chains.
Bear their rapt Goddess o'er tiie plains
And strew their glories o'er her land.
The dulcet groves, burst with rich notes,
Caught by a thousand trembling throats.
TO DELLA CRUSCA. 8/
The wavey rivers as they fly
Their soft embroider'd bounds between,
Whose glowing tints be-gem the green.
Bear on their curls th' extatic sigh ;
The breeze detain'd rests its pure wing,
To hear blest Love its triumphs sing.
And ah ! be Italy ne*er nam'd,
Without a pause to those so fam'd— -
The glorious Medicis I
Oh Sculpture! lift thy pillar high,
And grave the name amidst the sky I
Its base, let marble sorrows tend.
And chisel'd woes in high relief.
Look their unutterable grief,
And mute Despair its tresses rend !
Blest Poetry I compel thy lyre
To sound the loud immortal praise
Of those who cherish'd thy proud bays,
And fed thy near extinguished fire I
Thy pencil, Painting I dip in shades
To last till Europe's Glory fades-^—
Thy trophy'd canvas shall be Fame
To those who nurs'd thy infant Art,
And bear to mightier shores the Name!
88 TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Swiftly, my Della Crusca, turn,
To where the Medicean Urn,
The once proud City hallows still,
There thy fine taste may drink its fill.
Tq Florence fly
O, no I for ever shun her tempting skies,
For there, if right I ween, the Maid Indiffer-
Age, jam meorum.
And have I strove in vain to move
Thy Heart, yizzV Phantom of my Love ?
And cou'dst thou think 'twas my design,
Calmly to list thy Notes Divine,
That I responsive Lays might send,
To gain a cold Platonic Friend?
Far otlier hopes thy Verse inspir'd,
And all my breast with passion fir'd.
For Fancy to my mind had given
Thy form, as of the forms of Heaven
Had bath'd thy lips with vermil dew ;
Had touch'd thy cheek with Morning's hue!
And down thy neck had sweetly roll'd
X-uxuriant locks of mazy gold.
TO ANNA MATILDA.
Yes, I had hopes, at last to press.
And lure thee to the chaste caress ;
Catch from thy breath the quiv'ring sigh.
And meet the murder of thine eye.
Ah ! when I deem'd such joys at hand,
Remorseless comes the stern command.
Nor calls my wand'ring footsteps home,
But far, and farther bids me roam;
And then thy vestal notes dispense
The meed of COLD Indifference!
Curs'd Pow'r! that to myself unknown,
Still turns the heart I love, to stone !
Dwells with the Fair, whom most I prize,
And scorns my tears, and mocks my sighs.
Yes, Anna! I will hasten forth
To the bleak regions of the North,
Where Erickson, immortal Lord !
Pour'd on the Dane his vengeful sword;
Or where wide o'er the barb'rous plain.
Fierce Rurick held his ancient reign.
Then once more will I trace the Rhine,
And mark the Rhone's swift billows shine;
Once more on Virgil's tomb I'll muse,
And Laura' Sy gemm'd with evening dews ?
Once more Rome's Via Sacra tread,
And ponder on the mighty dead.
TO ANNA MATILDA. 9I
More Eastward then dire6l my way,
To thirsty Egypt's deserts stray,
Fix in wonder, to behold
The Pyramids renown'd of old ;
Fallen near one of which, I ween.
The Hieroglyphic Sphinx is seen 1
The * Lion Virgin Sphinx, that shows
What time the rich Nile overflows.
Then will I sail th' Egean tide.
Or seek Scamandcr''s tuneful side ;
Wander the sacred groves among,
Where Homer wak'd th' immortal song :
Traverse the Nemaean wood,
Mark the spot where Sparta stood ;
Or at humbled Athens see
Its still remaining Majesty !■
Yet to Indiff'rence e'er a foe.
May Beauty other joys bestow ;
Her rapt'rous Science I'll pursue.
The Science Newton n ever knew.
Now blows the wind with melancholy force.
And o'er the Baltic points my weary course j
Loud shout the Mariners, the white sails swell
Anna iMatilda 1 fare thee, fare thee well!
» The overflowing of the Nile al«-a)s happens when the Sun is in Leo and Virgo,
92 TO ANNA MATILDA.
Farewell whoe'er thou art, and mayst thou find
Health and repose, and lasting peace of mind;
Still pour the various Verse with fancy clear,
To thrill the pulse, and charm th' attentive ear;
Nor may relentless Care thy days destroy,
But ev'ry hope be ripen'd into joy 1
And O 1 farewell to distant Britain's shore,
Which I perhaps am doom'd to see no more ;
Where Valour, Wisdom, Taste, and Virtue dwell,
Dear Land of Liberty, alasl farewell 1
Yet oft, e'en there^ by wild Ambition tost.
The Soul's best season settles in a frost.
Yet even tkere^ desponding, late I knew.
That ^ntndisWi^^foreign-form'dy is rarely true.
For they, whom most I lov'd, whose kindness sav'd
My shatter'd Bark, when erst the tempest rav'd :
At Home, e'en with the common herd could fly.
Gaze on the wounded Deer, and pass him by!
Nor yet can Pride subdue my pangs severe,
But Scorn itself evap'rates in a Tear.
Thou too, delusive Maid ! whose winning charms
Seduc'd me first from slow Wealth's beck'ning arms;
Sweet Poetry ! my earliest, falsest Friend,
Here shall my frantic adoration end.
TO ANNA MATILDA. 93
Take back the simple flute thy treach'ry gave,
Take back, and plunge it in Oblivion's wave.
So shall its sad notes hence no malice raise
The Bard unknow^n — forgotten be the Lays.
But should vsrith Anna's Verse, his hapless Rhime,
In future meet th' impartial eye of Time,
Say, that thy wretched vi6tim long endur'd
Pains, which are seldom felt, and nevercur'dl
Say 'midst the lassitude of hopes o'erthrown,
Matilda's strain could comfort him alone.
Yet was the veil mysterious ne'er remov'd.
From him th' admiring^ and from her the lov'd.
And no kind intercourse the song repaid.
But each to each remained — a Shadow and a Shade,
May 15, 178S.
Oh stay, oh stay ! thy rash speed check,
Not ^eZ ascend the flying deck;
Nor Europe's Hemisphere forsake,
Nor from thy Nation's pleasures take
A bliss so exquisite and chaste — > .
A feast so dear, to poHsh'd taste,
As that thy Lyre corre6lly flings,
As that they feel when Della Crusca sings.
Alas ! thou'rt gone, and to my straining eye
Thy Bark seems buoyant on the distant sky; —
Seel in the clouds its mast it proudly laves,
Scorning the aid of Ocean's humble waves :
Well may it soar and bear aloft the prize
Whose verse immortal links him to the skies;
Well may it scorn rough Neptune's rocky way.
Which bears the Genius of the God of dayI
TO DELLA CRUSCA. 95
And now, Matilda, bind thy lyre
With cypress wreathes ! the lambent fire
Thou kindledst at his fervid rays
Can gleam no more ; thy future days
Lost to the Muses and to Taste,
Each torpid hour will joyless waste.
In vain each morning now will glow-
In vain, soft Maia's music flow,
And to my pillow force its way,
And on my wak'ning senses play.
Her notes my wak'ning senses fill.
And conscious slumbers own the trill ;
But when at length Remembrance bids
The filmy slumber quit my lids,
Saying " the World its wit hath brought,
" Its various point, its wellturn'd thought,
** But Della Crusca lends no ray"
Oh zahat'i^ Morning — what is May ?
Yet hold! some solace yet remains.
And pensive joys await my pains.
I too must leave this laurel'd coast
Which all, that Rome adorn'd, can boast ;
But not like thee, for Grecian shores;
Ah no! my humbler prow explores
The Sea unsungy which lies between
Dover's proud cliffs, and France serene.
Thou'lt skim th' Egean's brilliant tide,
I, o'er the British channel glide,
96 TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Thou^ all enthusiast! fondly trace
The Isle uhere Phaon's beauteous face
Gave birth to Sappho's glorious art
Illum'd her name, but tore her heart:
Thy Sappho seek the shores vicine,
Where f^z^o^/aTzi's lovely great-soul'd Queen
Sublimely knelt, andsnatch'd from blushing Fate
The Godlike vi(5tims of her Edtuard's hate.
Thou, at Aonia's sacred feet
Wilt duly pour libations meet ;
I, roam o'er Gallia's sportive plains,
Where thoughtless Pleasure ever reigns.
But 'tis not sportive Gallia's plains,
Tho' Pleasure there for ever reigns,
Which promises the boasted bliss .
No, Bard belov'd! the hope is this.
That there thy footsteps I may tread.
Press the same turf where sunk thy head ;
Sip the quick stream thy thirst hath slaked.
And greet the Dawn where thou hast waked,
Fancy'ng her waves of mazy gold
Ne'er with such rich refulgence roU'd;
And when her tints of various dye
Burst from the pallid sickly sky,
There rush in violet, there in green.
Here in soft red imbue the scene ;
TO DELLA CRUSCA.
Then lose themselves by growing bright,
'Till swallow'd up in one vast flood of light- —
Thus shall I say, He saw her rays,
Thus was he rous'd t* adore and praise I
Oh^ Sympathy, of birth divine ^
Descend, and round my heart-strings twine!
Touch the fine nerve whene'er 1 breathe
Where Della Crusca dropt his wreath I
Lead me the sacred way of Rome,
Lead me to kneel at VirgiV"^ tomb.
Where he th' enduring marble round
With fresh wove laurels, graceful bound.
Then guide where still with sweeter note
Than flow'd from Petrarchh tuneful throat,
On Laura's, grave lie pour'd the lay
Amidst the sighs of sinking day :
Then point where on the sod his tear
Fell from its chrystal source so clear.
That there my mingling tear may sink.
And the same dust its moisture drink.
Thus dying Swans are said to sing,
And their last breath in numbers fling
O'er the dear liquid shining plains,
Which nurs'd their joys, and sooth'd their pains.
Like them my Muse pines fast away,
And this her last, her closing day.
Vol. /, G
g8 TO DELLA CRUSCA.
When one blest word her lips hath seal'd,
In lasting silence she'll be veilM.
Expiring, still her note's the same,
She murmurs Della Ckvsca's name!
The sacred m'-orld I ye heard it spoke j •
Her Book is clos'd — her Lyre is broke!
May 17th, 1788.
A Recent Event in CATALONIA.
Loud shriek'd the wind ; hoarse struck the hour,
When from his couch, Alphonso rose ;
Bedeck'd with gold his splendid bower
Goldf had his couch, but not repose !
The Night sat brooding on the hill :
Beneath, the sable rivers roU'd,
]<iot giist' ring f now, the tinkling rillj-
Its stream opaque, its spirit cold.
His chamber long, with restless feet,
The Lord Alphonso travers'd o'er ;
Here once he tasted slumbers sweet,
But slumber sweet he knows no more I
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY,
His rous'd domestics strait obey
The signal of their Lord, unlov'd ;
Their torches flash a second day,
As thro' the costly rooms they mov*d.
His favourite, from th' obsequious train
Was to his inmost closet led ;
There heard confessed the am'rous pain
Which tore him from his midnight bed.
Oh, thou wert near, Alpkonso cries,
When in the progress late we made,
Gonsaho^s daughter in our eyes
Bade every other virgin fade.
Her noble mien, her blushes mild,
The burnish of her traces bright ;
Her age but just no longer Child,
Her rosy mouth, her graceful height ;
All these have in my time-worn heart.
Lighted a youthful, am'rous fire— —
I sink beneath the poignant smart,
I faint with eager, strong desire.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY. lOI
Oft did I try her soul to melt,
But ign'rant she of Cupid's povv'r —
His ecstacies she never felt
But now is come her fated hour.
With flames illicit I essay'd
To touch her iced, unwaken'd heart;
Let Hymen sooth the bashful maid.
She'll zvaken'dy play a softer part.
Strait to her father's, speed thy way,
The fleetest mules with haste prepare;
And ere to-morrow scans his day,
Thou'lt reach the village of my fair.
These pearls, these di'monds speak my truth.
Woo her with treasures to my arms ;
When love no longer boasts of youth.
Riches may plead their meaner charms.
Oh how unlike the rapturous hour.
When love is bought by love alone ;
When a soft look, a touch, a flower.
Is prized beyond Ind's brightest stone.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY.
But go, and to her parents bear
Thy Lord's designs — his hopes unfold ;
Plead with due force his meaning fair,
And in thy promises be bold*
Much more, the Lord Alphonso spoke ;
His servant's mind the whole retains.
Whose lashes soon the mules provoke ;
The mules skim o'er the distant plains.
Th' awakenM night with streaks of gold
Her jetty robes begun to lace ;
Her drowsy car far off she roll'd— —
The blithe Sun urging to the race ;
And ere his wheels had run behind
The western mountain's giddy slope;
Julidy with meekness all resign'd,
Had listen'd to Alphonso"?, hope.
Not so resign'd, but that her thought
Recoil'd at such unequal love,
Till by parental wisdom taught,
She learn'd to bear, and then approve.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY. I03
The Sire attends his darling child,
For so Alphonso's pride allows;
And with the transport almost wild,
Saw her receive a Grandee's vows.
He saw that form where speaking grace
Gave soul to beauty most refin'd,
The robe of dignity embrace,
By taste magnificent designed.
Her hair, which floated o'er her dress,
A dress, which to be seen demands
Its rich luxuriance to repress,
They tie in folds with diamond bands,
But the soft curls which hapMy fell
Upon her bosom's heaving snow.
Were sufFer'd there, unbound, to dwell,
And spread their wavy golden glow.
Thus the fond parent saw her rove
Thro' gaudy halls and rooms of state ;
Whilst humble trains at distance move,
And from her nod receive their fate.
I04 A TALE FOR JEALOUSY.
Succindl the time in which such joy
Around his aged heart might play j
Bitter, oh! bitter the alloy !
And set full soon his Pleasure's day :
For Lord Alphonso names the hour,
When he the sumptuous dome must quit.
And seek again the humble bower
For birth Like his a mansion Jit :
Tells him to take a last farewell.
Of her more dear than sense or light;
Bids him ne'er hope again to dwell
Where filial Julia bless'd his sight.
His daughter, overwhelm'd with woe,
The haughty cruel order hears j
She sees her mournful parent go,
And bathes his last steps with her tears.
Now slow and sadden'd, rolls the time
Which late flew rapid with delight ;
Heedless is she of Morning's prime,
}i\QX hails the soft approach of Night.,
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY. I05
Her only solace was to roam
Midst the deep wood's embosom'd calm,
Where distant from her gaudy home
Meek soUtude bestow'd its balm.
There, on a river's fringy side,
Which snatch'd her breath as stealing by.
She'd watch its curl'd, unequal glide.
And swell with her's the zephyr's sigh :
Mark with what truth it objefls drew,
When ruffling zephyr ceas'd to breathe,
Its surface polish'd to the view
A phantom forest underneath.
Two drooping willows there display'd
Their foliage to the painting wave ;
Which in their pensive green array'd
Would still their jutting bare roots lave,
These, by her hands, in garlands dress'd,
She'd sometimes chide the low-bent branch,
Which would its blooming fragrant vest
Upon th' escaping river launch.
106 A TALE FOR JEALOUSY.
Thus was she one bright eve employ'd,
Whilst carols sad her sweet voice sung;
Evening's own bird her note enjoy'd .
When from its shades a soldier sprung.
His form, like that Apollo wears,
When from his bow the swift dart sings ;
Or when the discus thro* the air
With equal force and grace he flings.
Martial his step ; his beamy eye
Bright as fair Julia's own appears;
Strait to each other's arms they fly ■
They mingle joy — they mingle tears.
'Twas Julia's, brother whom she saw,
'Twas Julia whom her brother press'd ;
Both dear by Nature's dearest law.
For twins they were, who thus caress'd.
From Calpe's glorious rock he came —
Immortal monument decreed
Of English Eliott's laurel'd name ;
Where English heroes oft shall bleed.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY. I07
And there his blood did Gvsman shed
Amongst the boldest ever found,
By sacred th''"st of hr^nour led
Nor shimn'd the deaths that flew around.
But when bright Peace her silver flute
Had sounded thro' wide Europe's skies,
And when the voice of war was mute,
Sped by fond duty, home he flies.
There he first learn'd his sister's fate.
How elevated — and how curst 1
Heard, that amidst her brilliant state
Her heart consuming sorrow nurst.
Her husband's tyrant law reveal'd.
No dear relation to behold ;
Oblig'd him thus in shades conceal'd,
His sister to his heart to fold.
And oft he mourn'd her cruel lot,
And oft he dried her tears away,
When from the interesting spot
They each were warn'd by closing day.
108 A TALE FOR JEALOUSY.
Adieu, my Gusman, Juiia cries \
Yet let me see thee once again ;
To-morrow bless thy sister's eyes,
Then seek our dear paternal plain
From forth my little treasur'd hoard.
Fond tokens to my mother bear ;
No miser is my cruel Lord,
And gifts, like these, 1 well can spare.
Gusman, with pure, fraternal love,
Kiss'd either beauteous, fading cheek,
Vowing, when Morn shou'd light the grove,
In its mild haunts her steps he'd seek.
Now Evening hung its silv'ry dews,
On every shrub that deck'd the glades ;
And fainter scents the flowers effuse
As loth to greet with sweets, her shades.
Oft had fair Julia linger'd there
In hours like these and traced the beam>
Which sent from Luna's brilliant sphere.
Shot thro' the wood a shiver'd gleam.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY. leg
Mark'd how each sound stole soft away.
As gliding off to shores more bright j
Bribed by the gaudy tumid day,
To fly the dove-ey'd, tender night.
By Julia these are all forgot,
For pleasure hath her soul suffused ;
Blind to the beauties of the spot,
She deigns not novv to be amused.
Braced with young joy, the sportive fawn
Pursues her dam, with motion fleet.
Regardless of the sprinkled lawn
That weaves its flowers around her feet.
So speeds the fair one to her home.
Whose towers return the moon's broad glare ;
Whilst to point out the distant dome,
They flash their gold vanes thro' the air.
On her soft pillow soon reclin*d,
Round her, the slumbers spun their veil ;
And o'er her placid gentle mind.
The softest dreams their phantoms steal.
no A TALE FOR JEALOUSY.
At Morning's dawn, her Lord comman^ds,
Her placid slumbers must be broke ;
He grasp'd in his her trembling hands,
He led her forth, but never spoke.
And oh! these horrid sounds, she cried— —
Those piteous shrieks, which tear the ear I
With terror struck, she faintly sigh'd,
And sunk, at length, o'erpowerM with fear.
He dragg'd her on ; the screams of pain,
More piercing as they nearer grow.
Left her scarce power to sustain
Her crimson hfe's unequal flow.
There, wretch, behold I Alpkomo cried.
As wide he threw the grating gate :
There feast thy loose adulterous eyes.
See there, thy paramour's just fate !
There, stretch'd upon the racking wheel,
She saw her brother's tortur'd form;
From his torn flesh the jagged steel,
Bade rush the blood, with life yet warm.
A TALE FOR JEALOUSY, III
She saw — but oh ! she spoke no more !
The agony too fierce to bear ;
Groaning, she sunk upon the floor.
And breath'd her spirit on the air.
Sister ! tlie writhing Gusman said
Oh, Sister I plead — then svvoon'd with pain I
On his gash'd bosom sunk his head,
His limbs convuls'd, the cords still strain.
Alphonsoy when he heard the sound,
Leapt sudden to the deathftil wheel ;
With eager haste the youth's unbound,
And stern Alphonso learns to feel.
He raves, he sinks, he strikes his breast,
But oh I the guilty deed is past,
The victims pure are now at rest
Thy tortures shall for ever last !
Vain is all art, for life no more
Can lift their pulse, their cheeks can paint i
Thou'st freed their souls, they quit the shore-
Each seeks its God a murder'd Saint !
112 A TALF FOR JEALOUSY.
Tliere, tyrant, lie ! and let the fangs
Of deep remorse thy bosom tear !
Each vvak'ning morn awake new pangs——
Teach thee to pity, and despair 1
IN THREE ACTS.
VoL J, H
Clotilda, Mother of Alberto*
Theresa, Duchess of Milan*
LuciNDA, an attendant Lady,
Alberto, Bastard of the late Duke of Milan,
Prince Carlo, Son of the King of Naples,
A R N A L D I , a distressed Nobleman,
AtiTOti JO i Companion of Carlo*
Scene in and near Milan.
ACT 1. SCENE I.
A Hall in the Ducal Palace at Milan, THERESA, CLOTILDA, ALBERTO,
and others, composing a Court.
Now thriving peace scatters her lib'ral stores
O'er happy Lombardy j the Peasant now
May careless carol to the morning breeze,
As on he drives his ploughshare's patient toil,
Nor dread the rapine, nor the rage of war.
Returning Autumn shall not force the sigh
From his torn breast, nor leave him to deplore
His ruin'd olives, and his rifled vines.
No more, Alberto 1 we demand thy aid
To lead our valiant troops to victory ;
But still Theresa claims her brother's care.
Yes, I require thy counsel, to direfl
• This Tragic-Drama was written prior to any of the other PoemS'-i
Il6 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. ASl f.
My maiden weakness ; it is thou must curb
The womanish spirit in me, teach me how
To govern wisely, steadily, and justly :
Consult the people's good, and rule in mercy.
So shall we be in fa6l two sovereigns,
The real thou, and I th' ostensible.
yil6. 'Twere better, gen'rous sister I thou should'st
Some youthful prince of honour, and renown,
To share the splendid toil of government.
And be thy wedded friend, than stoop to me,
A heedless soldier, hot, impolitic ;
O rather think of Naples* royal heir,
Illustrious Carlo I let your charms reward
His well-prov'd valour, for in him unites
All that is noble, worthy, and engaging ;
Then is it just and proper he receive
All that is virtuous, lovely, and benign.
Perchance, his last year's residence at Milan
Gave thee occasion to remark him well.
And to esteem his matchless excellence.
What says Theresa ? — why that rising blush ?
Tker. I thank thy kind attention, good Alberto !
And feel the pointed merriment ; but yet,
Methinks, I shall prefer my single state,
Which is, perhaps, best suited to my mind.
And gives me greater pow'r to do thee service.
Ai6. O let no thought of me impede thy bliss.
AS L AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. l\J
For I am unambitious, and require
But ease, and freedom, with society ;
And be assured my wislies were complete
In my dear sister's nuptial happiness.
Clot. Howl [Aside,
Ignoble youth I thou should'st aspire to all.
Ther. Thou too, my father's well-belov'd Clotilda!
Shalt not regret, or splendor, or respeft,
Due to thy merit, and my father's mem'ry.
Unslacken'd honour shall attend thy steps,
And thy heart's ev'ry wish be gratified.
Clot. Gracious Theresa!
Alas ! my tongue wants pow'r to speak my thanks.
Say'st thou, my wishes gratified I but that \_Aside,
Can never be, while humbled by thy bounty.
Ther. And you, the lords and ladies of my court!
€how me how best I may express my love.
And gain your hearts, and that way I'll pursue.
Yet, yet I feel it is most arduous
To rule and satisfy, for all have views
To aggrandize themselves, while those who fail
In rising to the summit of their aim.
Turn bitt'rest enemies ; nay, I fear that most
Hate whom they flatter, and the giddy crowd
Wish for eternal change. Naught can suffice
To gratify ambition's endless rage,
To fill the coffers of pale avarice,
Or deal out favours with so rich a hand
Il8 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AEl I.
To equal each man's wishes ; for, alas!
The sovereign pow'r is bounded, whereas hope
Is without bounds, and each succeeding day
Bestows fresh force, and heightens its impatience.
Aib, Thou reason'st wisely, and with truth, Theresa!
But how didst thou acquire such sage refleftion?
Ther, Oft would our father pour into my ear
This sage instruction, which I still received
With due attention, tho' with heavy heart.
Nor can I choose but tremble, when I think
That all the pow'r of evil, and of good.
Centres in me ; each error I commit,
Loads me with secret curses, and vile hate.
Yet will I labour for the gen'ral good,
And my intention shall at least be pure,
So those, alas ! I may not chance to please.
Shall but unjustly murmur.
Clot. Long may'st thou reign in glory, royal maid!
And a6^ing from such gen'rous sentiment.
Revive the sad, and suff 'ring multitude.
Like Heaven's fresh dew that cheers the languid plain,
O that the dew of Heav'n might fall to night [Aside,
Upon thy sepulchre.
Tker. But yet, Clotilda ! I could wish to be
Placed in a station not so eminent,
Where all my weakness, and perhaps my faults.
Would neither injure, trouble, nor offend,
gorn in some jiumble cottage, I had known '
A61 t. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I19
No wild commotion of exalted care,
But cheerful hied me forth at early morn,
Tho' the bleak north-wind swept the mountain's side j
Or when warm summer sooth'd the vocal grove,
At ruddy eve, my occupation done,
Have jocund danc*d upon the verdant lawn.
j^lb. Thou would'st have been a charming shep-
Driving with flow'ry crook thy whitenM flock
To crop the wild thyme on the fragrant down,
And list the humming bell, that seems to shake
The distant dome, and with sad-ling'ring note
Pants on the dying gale. Young Carlo, too.
Should have been there, a gentle, rural swain,
To take his plaintive pipe, and fondly pour
The song of suff'rance, to subdue thy heart ;
Or have been seen at infant dawn's first gleam.
Carving thy name upon the polish'd beach,
The boast, the wonder of the rustic race,
Por comeliness, and manly strength, and song.
Ther. Nor would it have displeas'd me, for truly
T think there does not live a nobler youth.
His anions vaunt, and not his tongue, of glory.
Gen'rous as love, and stranger to offence.
He wins each heart, nor proudly e'er pretends
To gain by mimic affability :
The common error of our princely tribe I
120 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A8 I.
Unmatch'd in virtue, sense, and dignity,
And ev'ry charni of youthful manliness.
If aught that's mortal can approach perfeftion,
*Tis Carlo — and I do not blush to own it.
Alb, This honest frankness well becomes thee,
And gives a sweeter lustre to thine eye,
Than all the tricks of timid bashfulness.
I much rejoice that he will soon be here.
For well I know, his promise is an oath
He would not break for worlds; then let me hope
His meed may be thy hand, and more thy heart.
Ther. Thanks for thy mirthful wishes, but at present
I shall retire; and recol]e6t, Clotilda!
Thou mayst command my utmost pow'r to serve thee.
Now fare ye well awhile. \^Exiu
The Court retires. Manent Clotilda and Alberto.
Clot, \_Aside.'] It is thy death I would command, and
I will procure without thy kind consent .
Besides, methinks, when royal Carlo here
Shall sway the sceptre as thy wedded lord.
The pow'r of serving me will be transferr'd
To him, who, should caprice incline, may veil
In clouds and darkness all my starry hopes,
A9 L AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 121
And, scorning the condition of my baseness,
Breed a dire tempest o'er my hated head.
I must a speedy vengeance execute.
A15. Thou seem'st absorb'd in anxious thought,
Clot. I have at times a wand'ring mind, and oft
Imagination, with her fairy train,
Leads me to fountains, or enamell'd meads.
To cull an humble garland of fresh flow'rs.
Or, on the promontory's height, I seem
To wander, at the midnight hour, and catch
The thrilling sounds of the far distant wreck.
The voice of coming war, with sudden burst,
Perhaps then strikes my ear : Anon, I view
The ransack'd town, the agonizing band
Of hapless females with dishevell'd locks,
Piercing the air with cries ; and then, methinks,
I am a queen, and hush their clam'rous fears.
Change desp'rate terror into rapt'rous joy.
And govern with a prosperous moderation.
When thus my mind's bewilder'd, I remain
Lively, or sad, or fix'd in solemn thought,
As the wild-woven visions interest.
y^lb. Much, much I fear that something troubles
For I have oftentimes observed of late,
Thou'rt absent e'en amidst society ;
As tho' the busy lab'ring of thy breast,
AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB I.
Taught thee to scorn attentive ceremony.
O, pr'ythee dissipate the low'ring gloom
That hangs oppressive on thy pensive spirits,
And deck thy face in smiles and gentleness :
For all should smile beneath Theresa's reign.
I doubt Alberto's unaspiring nature
May not be roused to deads of dreadful greatness j
True he is brave, and no mean personal fear
E'er touched his heart, yet will he surely shrink
From treach'rous daring, and intrepid crime.
Then let me not unbosom me to him,
But mask th' intention from his piercing eyes,
And be myself the bloody executor,
So he in tranquil innocence shall enjoy
The dazzling 'vantage of supreme command.
^rn. Not always thus in humble garb array'd,
I trod with timid step these spacious halls.
But time, that fleets along on restless wing,
Bears human happiness for e'er away,
So has it mine. — Yet will I seek Clotilda,
For once she did not scorn me ; hah ! *tis she,
Alone in deep refle6lion ; the hour suits well. i
Madam ! if wretchedness may plead excuse
A£l 1, AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 123
For this abrupt intrusion, I surely
May be forgiven, for alas! my woes.
Are seldom parallel'd. Hither I come
To throw me at your feet, implore your aid
To lift me from a state of grov'ling sorrow.
And bid returning fortune smile upon me.
Clot. I know thee not, intruder! quit my sight.
Am. I am Arnaldi, fallen, lost Arnaldi!
Who once enjoy'd your tenderness and friendship.
Clot. I do remember, and now greet thee kindly;
Then give thy woes an utterance,
Arn. It is thou
Canst turn the youthful mind of fair Theresa
To justice and compassion, tell her, that
There was a time, when splendidly I flourish'd
In the bright ray of our late sov'reign's favour ;
His confidant, and friend ; until at length
By treachery undermin'd, by malice ruin'd.
Each post of profit, and of high import,
Forc'd I resign'd, and uncondemn'd I bear
The stigma of suspicion. Then I found
My youthful patrimony, near consum'd.
Was all that I retain'd, which scarcely serves
To conquer hunger, and subdue my thirst.
Or throw a rustic cov'ring o'er my limbs.
O Madam ! think how cruel 'tis to bear
Such sad reverse of fortune ; fallen thus
From wealth and pow'r, to lowest poverty.
AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB I.
Clo. [Jside.] This man may suit my purpose; — true,
I have full oft deplored thy fate, and pray'd
A pardon for thee, tho' I pray'd in vain.
And when thy house was humbled, and thyself
Thrown unregarded on the scornful world,
I wept the sufF'rance I could not prevent :
For thou hadst always interest in my thoughts.
But say, Arnaldil hast thy silent scorn,
Or open satire, e'er provok'd Theresa ?
Am. With all humility, and loyal heart,
I look'd for justice from her hand, but ne'er
Disclos'd the bitter anguish of my soul
By mark'd disdain, or public murmuring.
dot. O then it is most marvellous, to see
How she abhors thy name ; within her breast,
Th* apparent seat of mercy, and of love.
Dwell rancour, and destruftive cruelty.
Thou might'st as easy check the ebbing force
Of foamy Neptune with thy naked breast,
As try to bid her settled hate subside.
I fear, my friend I that greater grief await thee.
And not forgiveness.
Arn. O Heavens !
Cio. Yet, yet methinks, there is a road may lead
Thy footsteps to prosperity ; but perhaps
Thou with a coward's patience dost prefer
To bear thy wrongs, than manfully avenge thera.
AS I, AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 125
canst thou, nurs'd in wealth, and train'd to glory,
Accustom'dto behold a cringing crowd
Court thy prote6ling smile, and bend before thee.
Now wander up and down, in threadbare sorrow,
This alter'd town, to meet the cold negle6l
Of unobserving greatness, and encounter
The wretch's humour of eqtiality ?
Were thy lot mine, far other thoughts would rouse
My burning breast, and settled deep revenge
Should be the polar star to guide my course
Thro' the rough waves of mis'ry and despair.
Arn. Nor is my mind dead to a glorious vengeance^
Did any luring prospe6t of success,
Or hopes of happier days encourage it.
Clot. That's nobly said, pursue th' heroic thought ;
And if thou find but any means to crush
The glitt'ring asp that lurks on Milan's throne,
That midst the fragrant flow'rs of courtesy
Prepares to wound us all with venom'd sting,
1 here pronounce thy fortunes shall be raised
To their accustom'd splendor, for the deed
Will place the sceptre in Alberto's hand,
And I can bend his pliant disposition
To my desires. If I but give the word,
My enemies shall vanish from my sight,
Like earthly mists before the morning blast j
And where I point my favour, shall descend
A copious show'r of all-refreshing bounty.
1^6 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE, AEl I.
Am, Thy words, thus pouring in my heart, are
That makes the latent fire rush forth in blaze :
Give thy commands, and I witli promptitude.
And steady resolution, will perform them,
Whate'er they may be. Acquainted long
With narrow suft''rance, pains contemptible.
And all the rending littleness of want,
I gaze upon a greatly impious deed,
And think it glory : fear alike is fled
With moulder'd wealth, and faded reputation*
Then bid me seek the solitary cave.
Where sleeps the brinded wolf in grim repose.
To drag him forth, and I'll not hesitate j
Or plant a dagger in the lily breast
Of timid innocence, and I'll obey thee.
Clot. We must be speedy in all desp'rate a6ts — -*
Consider wisely, firmly execute.
Receive this key, it opes a secret door
la the lone wall near St. Antonio's dome;
Thence comes a secret passage to my chamber ;
Which thou wilt traverse, at the silent hour.
When solemn Midnight spreads her dark'ning
And naught is heard, save the fierce felon's tread
Pacing to meet his comrades; O Arnaldi !
Haste to me then, and let thy bosom burn
With dire revenge, and unrelenting rage,
ASII. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. Ik/
For I shall have an a6lion to propose,
That will require a heart of adamant.
Arn. Doubt me not,
I am not to be shaken ; but explain.
Clot. Are we unnoticed, hangs no list'ning ear
Attentive on the purport of my words >
Know then, I will prepare a cordial drink
Shall calm for e'er Theresa's restless spirit :
The which thy hand shall minister. — How's this?
Thy abje6t eye seems bursting with dismay ;
And pallid terror trembles on thy cheek ;
Hast thou forgot her hatred, and thy wrongs,
Or certain recompense I promis'd ?
I am wound up to execute; my soul
Recoil'd a moment from the dire attempt,
And now returns again with double firmness.
But how shall I gain entrance to her bed ?
Clot. She occupies the chamber of her father,
From mine to which there is a hidden way.
The duke's contrivance, only known to me.
Made for conveniance of our sportful hours.
So shalt thou gain admittance to thy prey.
And from behind the arras steal upon her ;
Then either force her drain th' oblivious cup,
Or fix a mortal poignard in her heart,
I would myself have done it ; but I fear
A momentary weakness of my sex
128 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A£l t.
Might shake my purpose, at the very time
When hesitation would be my destru(5lion :
This faithfully perform'd, thou shalt be raisM
To Milan's proudest honours, and thy house
Shall back retort the scorn it has receiv'd,
Upon the heads of all thy enemies.
Arn. This night it shall be done; and why should I
Let weak compassion turn me from the deed ?
For none can pity me ! then let me wade
With daring step thro' crimes, until I reach
The wish-for port, when, like the fortunate,
I'll damn the humble villain, turn to scorn
The baleful vices of necessity,
And grant no virtue in the man that errs,
Whate'er the fatal cause or circumstance.
Clot. Thou hast much injury t' inflame thy rage,
And I to urge it, as thou soon shalt know ;
Bat leave me now, Arnaldi I lest my son
Chance to return, and to behold thee here,
Might raise suspicion to disturb hereafter.
Has no one mark'd thy entrance ?
Jrn. O no ; disguised in poverty, I passed
With others thro' the gate, while the stern guard
Disdain'd to challenge such a wretch as I.
All unobserv'd I hither bent my course.
Clot. Then hasten to yon chamber for a while,
There lie conceard, and I will meet thee soon;
When we will sagely meditate, and prepare
AS I. AMBITIOUS VENGEAtlCE.
The necessary prelude to our greatness.
Thence thou may^st hie thee home the way I mention'd,
And so return at midnight.
Arn. It shall be done. [Exit*
Clot. So pliant is the virtue of the poor,
The fallen poor, who once have known the sweets
Of better time ; not those, whose industry,
Tho' hardly exercised in humblest toil,
Gives daily bread, and careless independence,
'Tis well I pront by this wretch's want,
And save myself the horror of the deed.
No longer Milan's sceptre shall elude
Alberto's grasp, for on Theresa's death
He is th' appointed heir, and must be duke.
O sable Night ! bring quick th' important hour
To ratify th' intent; for thou, dread queen 1
Altho' to frequency of crimes inured,
Shalt view an aft of gloomiest dignity.
So when thy rival, fresh Aurora, opes
Her laughing eyes beneath the front of HeaVen^
She shall behold Clotilda's pow'r complete.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.
ACT II. SCENE 1.
A Bed-chamber in the Palace. CTOTILDA sola, A Lamp burning.
Is it, alas I
The penalty and sad concomitant of guilt,
That time for ever now must labour on.
With secret workings of unbosomed pain ?
Ah, no! the tyrant conscience soon throws by
His blunted shafts, and reason laughs to scorn
Each servile fear. — He said it should be done
Ere light appear'd, nor is the day yet broke.
Nor have the busy race of toil begun
Their early murmurings; Milan's late-throng'd streets
Seem like some lonely cloister's pensive aisles.
Perhaps th' attempt has fail'd, then dark despair
And shame must fall upon me ; and my son
Bow the base knee to his own father's daughter,
Because her birth was sanction'd by the priest,
A^ IL AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I31
And his unlicens'd. O forbid it pride I
Ambition too prevent it 1 — Hal who's there ?
Alb. O grant me pardon, mother, at this hour I— ,
What means that start, the look of wild dismay,
This early watchfulness ? 'tis very strange !
Clot. Be not surprized,
For often when the night-flies break my rest,
Or shrill winds whistle, or the cricket cries,
I quit an irksome bed, and to and fro
Traverse my room till day-light, fancy then
Teems with wild thought, and each slight noise alarms
But, say, my son 1 at this unusual hour,
Why dost thou seek me ? — for tho' always joy
Attends thy presence, now 'tis mix'd with wonder.
Would he were gone before Arnaldi comes. \_Aiidt.
Alb, After you left the table, for a while
Theresa staid, being in merry mood ;
And by her gay discourse, and artless wit.
Won ev'iy hearer's love j the old she charm'd,
Pointing her mirthful satire at the vain,
The fopiings of her court j while they themselves,
For some were present, laugh'd with willing heart,
To find their foibles droUy singular j
For in her ridicule was no disgrace.
13a AMBITIOUS VEKGEANCE. AB IL
The spacious hall, with echo of her praise
Resounded ; when I, with voice prophetic,
Cried, to retort her humour, gentle sister!
Would princely Carlo, were but here to tame thee !
Clot. And canst thou thus lavish thy praises forth
On her, who marrs thy fortune?
Alb. Attend the sequel, — scarce had she retired,
When thro' the palace arch, with rattling hoof,
A swift steed brings the wish'd-for messenger;
For 'twas with news of Carlo that he came.
By this, the prince is near, for day and night
He has pursued his journey, like a lover
Warm and sincere, and worthy of Theresa.
These tidings pleased me so, I would not sleep,
But rather chose with watchful readiness,
To wait the coming of my friend, my brother.
Clot. Thy friend 1 thy brother!
Alb. My friend he is, for we have fought together!
And will be soon my brother 1 but, Clotilda!
Excuse my rash intrusion, since you know
The rapt'rous cause that urged it.
Clot. O 1 call it not intrusion, for the tidings
Have struck me deeply — with delight — but now
I must require thee — leave me to repose — ^
That sinking nature claims.
Alb. You do well,
Compose yourself a Httle, for you're pale.
And something overpow'rs you ; when you're better.
AB 11, AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I33
Go to Theresa, 'tis a pleasing task,
And wake the heav'nly maid to love and transport.
Meanwhile I'll hasten to prepare a welcome
For noble-minded Carlo — so adieu. \_Exit,
Clot. Thanks to indulgent fortune thou art gone ;—
How did thy presence, at this pregnant time
Of busy mischief, shake each secret nerve.
'Tis very like, perhaps I'm pale — O Chancel
This is thy cruel sport, young Carlo comes
Flush'd with the mingled, pleasing expe6tation.
To wed Theresa, and to reign in Milan,
But he shall find her in the arms of Death ;
And the proud dukedom fallen lo my son
By legal course ; for so his father will'd.
In case the maiden died. Yet 'tis unlucky.
For the too prying prince, burning with love.
And stung to fury by his baffled hopes,
May happen to susped: j well let him then.
For I will 'scape suspicion, my hot tears
Shall glide unnumber'd, and my sea-like breast
Shall labour with a tempest of affli6tion,
'Till half the pity to Theresa due.
Be turn'd on me her melancholy mourner.
But O I perhaps she lives, Arnaldi's false —
If so, ambition be his curse, for then
My schemes are vain, Alberto's greatness gone.
Kow, now he comes, my fate is on his lips.
AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AQ U,
Enter Arnaldi, by aprivate door.
Am. Theresa sleeps for ever!
Clot. 'Tis well, but tell me all.
Arn. 'Twas three hours after midnight, as thou
When with a creeping sacrilegious step
The private stairs I mounted to her chamber.
Just as I pass'd the op'ning tow'rds the garden,
Methought her father's speftre threat'ned me.
And as I cautious turn'd thy traitor key,
The lonely Night-fowl shriek'd the note of death;
Then my limbs trembled, and my hair uprose.
Clot. Didst thou recoil ?
Arn. I paused a moment only, and then enter'd—
But 1 what forceful language can describe
The innocent beauty of the sleeping fair! [heart,
Hadst thou been there, it would have chang'd thy
And melted thee to mercy.
Clot. Is she not dead then?
Arn. The quiv'ring lamp, as conscious of the deed.
E'en strove to hide its light j and the carv'd cupids
That adorn her bed, seem'd to plead for her.
Clot. Didst thou refuse f
Arn. No, I determin'd stood.
Like some relentless tyger of the desert.
To gaze awhile upon my destin'd prey.
AH II. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE.
Clot. And when you woke her, was she not in fear ?
Arn. Hercheekgrew whiter thanherthrobbingbreast.
Her eye look'd frantic, and with falt'ring tongue
She cried, what would'st thou here ? I answer'd,
Peace, Hsten, and obey, — accept this cup,
Thy brother's mother sends it. Here she scream'd,
Then with uphfted dagger I pursued ;
Shriek not, Theresa — or within thy heart
This steel shall rankle ; since thou needs must die,
Drain the calm cup, and die without a pain.
Clot. And so she drank it \
j4rn. After a show'r of tears, and many prayers.
To change my stubborn heart,
Finding all hope was vain, she drank it up :
Implored forgiveness on tliy head and mine,
Then turn'd her with a piteous sigh, and slept.
Clot, What made thee loiter when the act was o'er ?
Am. A giddy horror seiz'd my brain, and then
Cold fearful stupor sunk me to the floor :
Where long I lay, if so my absence seem.
When sense renew'd the consciousness of crime,
I with a coward's agitated step,
Quitted the murder'd loveliness of virtue.
And hither came to tear my villain's hair,
Beat my mean breast, and curse my poverty.
Clot. Thanks to thy manly firmness, bold Amaldi!
Which let no idle agony disgrace ;— —
Hast thou not heard of Carlo's near arrival \
136 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A8 If.
Am. Of Carlo's near arrival, say'st thou? no j
That may promote enquiry, and breed danger.
Clot. To us it cannot, we are sov'reign now,
And Justice waits our nod ; but yet beware.
Nor ever in discourse appear myscerious ;
But mask, thy secret thoughts with open brow.
And when at table, or in public talk.
Cold observation whispers forth his doubts,
And Malice prattles of Theresa's death ;
Bestow a casual heed, but no remarks;
Like one to whom such great events import not>
Soon as the gen'ral wonder shall subside,
And new ideas turn to common thoughts ;
When brave Alberto shall be firmly fix'd
Upon the throne, thy recompense shall come.
Am. I trust me to thy bounty and protection.
Clot. Expe(^t thy just reward.
Am. So fare thee well. \_ExU..
Clot. And thou shalt have thy just reward, Ar-
For to thy guard I will not trust my honour,
Hard-hearted murderer ! thou canst nothing urge
In poor extenuation of thy deed
But avarice, and base servility ;
While I can plead, in the dark afts excuse.
Maternal love, ambition, pride, and hate.
Then shall thy death appease Theresa's shadej^
Ali4 thus my justice wipe away my cnm?.
Acl n. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 137
Now will I seek my couch, that when the news
Of young Theresa's death shall shake the palace,
I may be found in seeming calm repose,
CLOTILDA throws herself upon the Bed, and the Scene closes.
Enter Alberto, and a Neapolitan Lord.
Alb. Left you his highness far behind, my lord ?
Lord. Another hour will bring him to your gates.
And willingly he speeds, for he admires
The hospitable manners of your town,
Your beauteous ladies, and your valiant'youths.-.
Yet most his spirit languishes to view
Your royal sister, — her he loves sincere.
And her alone : but eight short months are gone
Since last he left her j yet he oft will talk
Of ages past in absence. The gay court
Of Naples found him, on return, no more
The laughter-loving prince, who sported wild
Midst social mirth, and liveliest dissipation,
Put sad, and pensive j fond of solitude,
tie only chose to seek the cypress grove,
138 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A61 IL
What time unruffled evening's dewy hand
Bedecks in blushing robe her fav'rite star.
Alb. 'Tis true he loves,
Oft have I seen him dwell with raptur'd eye
On every varying charm of fair Theresa .
Nor does he need our pity. It were well
She knew of his approach, lest joy, perchance,
To meet him unexpected, should appear
Like sorrow, and dissolve in tears.
Who waits there ?
Alb. Go tell the ladies of her highness* chamber
To give her information, when she wake,
That royal Carlo hastens to her court.
Attend, It shall be so, my Lord.
Alb. O ! he's a noble, and a gen'rous youth,
Open of heart, benevolent, and valiant.
Lord, Next to Theresa, most he loves Alberto,
And boasts thy friendship with a manly pride.
Protesting in the circle of this world.
For virtue, honour, spirit, feehng, truth.
There lives not thy superior.
Alb. His praise to merit, and to share his friendship,
Is all I ask, and the chief bliss I wish him,
The dear possession of Theresa's beauty :
For she is as the counterpart of him,
Lovely and perfect.
AEl II. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I39
Enter Luc in da.
Luc. O direful fate, O miserable hour!
She's gone, she's gone, dead, dead I [Faints,
Alb. Dead, deadl Ah, who I what dost thou mean,
Now she revives, down, down my breaking heart !
Luc. Alas ! Alberto, must I tell thee all,
And plant a dagger in thy soul, but O!
My royal mistress, thy beloved sister,
Is lost, is gone for ever !
Alb. Theresa dead ! speak not the fatal word !
My tender sister, my fond heart's delight !
And must my Carlo thus be vvelcom'd here,
Feel what I feel ? there's madness in the thought 1
And have I 'scaped the rage of war for this ?
Lord. Too much I prove the anguish of his heart,
To offer comfort ; I'll retire, and weep. \Exit.
Clot. Ah me, Alberto I how shall I support
These dreadful tidings? poor Theresa's death.
So unexpected, loads my heart with grief,
And turns my eyes to sluices, whence flows out
A stream of useless pity ; O my son !
*Tis just we mourn, yet should we reason too.
140 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A£l U.
Attend. My Lord, prince Carlo is arrived. [£xiV.
Alb. I cannot, will not see him; let me fly
To some cold cavern, desolate, and drear,
Far from the haunts of men, where hated light
Shall be for e'er excluded, far from love,
And social intercourse, and friendship's ties,
Where I may wander like the raging wolf,
Howling my midnight sorrows all alone.
Madam you seem to bear this matter coolly,
And reason down your feelings, you may therefore
Receive ill-fated Carlo, and unfold
The horrible despair, while I escape
The dreadful shock to see a sufF'ring friend,
Without a pow'r to help him, \_ExU,
Clot. Gentle Lucinda I suffer not your grief
To overpower you thus, be more composed ;
My bosom struggles with a cruel load.
Heavy as thine, yet will I not despair;
Despair is impious, 'tis to call in doubt
Th' eternal justice of the Lord of all.
Luc. 'Twas sad to see how tranquilly she lay.
Her features settled, not her visage chang'd.
As tho' exulting innocence had chose
To make death lovely. — O I my heart will break !
ARII. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I4I
Clot, Now for another blust'ring scene with Carlo,
Of rending hair and beating breasts, and rage,
And all is over. Yet 'tis well I've order'd .
Theresa's body to be laid in peace,
'Midst the cold reli6ls of her ancestors. \_Exit.
A Chamber in the Palace.
I must believe it so, for I have marked
Her gaze with envious eye on my poor sister,
Who never knew suspicion, or design.
Thou fain would'st make me DLike,base,base Clotilda!
Little thou knew'st my heart, if thou could'st think
That it was fashion'd so, first to approve.
And then to profit by the desp'rate a6t.
But from the secret longings of thy soul,
Thou didst conceive of me. Beetle-ey'd ambition.
With headlong fury, winds his eager flight
'Gainst each abhorred crime. O mother, mother f
And must I still confess myself thy son !
Had I not all the vainest could desire.
Wealth, pow'r, and honour, dignity, respe6l ?
Plac'd in the palace, I did more than reign.
Thro' the bright medium of Theresa's virtue.
142 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB II*
Nay, ev'n thou wert treated like a sovereign.
Yet, if thou'rt innocent, I suspeft thee vilely I
Ah no ! 'tis true beyond the hope of error,
Else why that haggard cheek, tliat downcast eye
With which I found thee at the very time
My hapless sister perish'd ? O Clotilda !
Thou hadst much reason then to look confus*d ;
Well might'st thou shake, for then the gentle maid
Perhaps was struggling with the damn'd design ;
Or on her knees, in unavailing tears,
Striving to melt her butcher. Heavenly powers !
I'll see her lovely body as it lies,
The senseless prey of all-devouring death.
And should my tears permit me, will observe
If she have sufFer'd aught of violence.
How did the thought escape me ! Ho, who's there ?
Alb. Haste, lead me to the melancholy chamber
Where lie Theresa's sad remains.
Serv. My lord ! e'en now with decent privacy.
To the sepulchral vault of Milan's house,
The corse was borne by order of Clotilda,
Who said some future day should be appointed
For public rites, religious ceremony.
And the due requiem of her parted soul.
Alb, *Tis enough ! away. [^Exit Servant^
ja II, AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I43
^ ■ ■■' ' " — — ^
That shall not screen thee, madam ! yet indeed
'Twas wond'rous expeditious— but I'll think on't.
Clot. My son, Alberto !
Rouse from thy lethargy of grief, nor let
Thy private cares o'ercome all public spirit.
Know, that the senate wait in rev'rence due
Thy royal presejice to proclaim theeD uke.
Jid. How fares prince Carlo, madam?
Clot. Alas I unequal to the sudden shock,——*
His reason left him, at the very time
He had most need of all his fortitude.
Strangely he rav'd with incoherent speech.
And frantic gesture J while the noble lords
Of his illustrious train, with soothing sorrow,
Convey'd him to his chamber ; where they strive
To calm and comfort him — tho* much I fear.
They long may strive in vain.
Aid. Ill-fated Carlo !
Thy suff'rance throws fresh mis'ry on my heart.
That was o'ercharg'd before. Clotilda ! Madam !
Clot. My son I
Alb. Observe me well, meet with a steady look
My searching eye ; nay, nay, thou dost not tremble,
Yet art thou pale ; — do not turn pale, lest I
Should think thee guilty of some horrid crime.
144 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE, AB IL
Clot. What dost thou mean, Alberto?
Alb^ Some crime so dark, so cruel, and so base,
That it must take from Heaven the right of mercy,
And doom the agent to eternal pain.
At thought of which, my op'ning pores distil
A deadly dew, and ev'ry sensible nerve
Thrills with a strange vibration..
Clot. Surely thy reason wavers also !
Alb. Mark my words,
Much do I pity those, who kill'd Theresa
But more abhor them — let not that alarm thee.
Thou art an innocent woman, and my mother,
And thou would'st wish to see thy son advanc'd.
Thyself in pow'r; but there perhaps thou'lt fail.
While all thy high-built, guilty expeftations.
Shall quit thee ere the hour of consummation.
Clot. Wilr thou not deign, proud youth, to rule in
Alb. Since thou'rt so eager,madam! in this business.
Haste to the senate make my pleasure known,
If it befit thy sex, and thy condition !
That, being troubled with a froward mind.
And little able to direft the state,
I am beside less v,?illing — I refuse,
Without the shadow of hypocrisy,
All profFer'd honours, titles, dignities—
Clot. This grief effeminate, these grov 'ling thoughts
But ill become^—
JH II. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I45
Alb. Now, by my soul, the* Milan were the worlds
I would not be seduced to mount the throne.
What, shall I view my sister torn away
By ruffian violence, and shall I profit
Of the black deed ? — no, hear my last resolvci
Not all the charms of fortune, or of pow'r,
Th' entreating clamours of the populace,
Nor yet my boasted right, nor more, my duty,
Shall e'er induce me to be sov'reign here.
I am a bastard of but little worth,
Yet much I fear me, worthier than my mother,
And therefore will not bring my faults to light
Amid the dazzling splendor of a throne.
Nor shall thy gentle shade, Theresa I see
Alberto rise to greatness by thy murder !
Clot, [kneeling. '\ O let me thus implore thee on my
To a(St more nobly ; look on her who bore thee,
And change thy ■
Ali. Kneel not to me, but go and kneel to Heaven,
And do it with contrition ; to obtain
Mercy, and pardon ; but for me I'm fix'd .
Yet, ere we part; Theresa's sepulture,
By thy command, so hasty, and unhonour'd,
Occasions wonder; — think upon my words. [Exiti
Clot. Go, vent thy malice on th* embattled plain^
Or bid thy soldiers shake. I heed thee not.
Yet dost thou scorn the dukedom, base Alberto I
Vol. I, K
146 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB IL
Have I then loaded thus my soul with sin
To lift thee into greatness, but in vain ?
And torn the sceptre from Theresa's hand,
To cast it to the people ? who, beside.
Will quickly work my downfall, for they hate me,
And hitherto have paid me cold respeft.
Unwillingly, because I dwelt in favour.
But since my hopes are ruin'd by my son.
Thro' mere caprice of over-a6led honour,
My bright day's star is set, and I must fall.
For ever then I tear him from my love,
And here devote him to severest vengeance ;
Consoling vengeance ! thee I invocate,
Wrapt in terrific mystery, and rage.
To sooth me with thy horror-breathing smile ;
I am thy vot'ry now, be thou my guide 1
END OF THE SECOND ACT.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Another Chamber in the Palace. CARLO, ANTOXiO.
I WILL not wrong him, for I know my fiiend,
And that he would not atl the traitor's part,
Tho' ev'ry kingdom should unite its crown
To diadem his head. Is he not brave ?
And say, did ever selfish meanness dwell
In the rich circle of a brave man's heart ?
Then we will join in sorrows to discover
The loathed author of our mutual woe j
The wretch, who tore Theresa from my arms.
And stole the loveliest jewel of the world.
Ant. 'Tis wisely judg'd, ne'er could Alberto stoop
To work a deed so foul.
148 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB III,
Clot. O let me claim thy private ear awhile,
Illiistrioiis prince I for I have that to say
Requires a solemn, and severe attention.
Far better suited to my fearful tale,
Were charnels dismal, and the noon of night,
Than this still-lingering cheerfulness of day.
For 'tis not crude suspicion bids me speak,
But clear and awful confirmation shakes
My agonizing breast; whereof the purport
I would disclose to thee alone.
Car. My lord ! be pleased to leave us.
Clot. How strong the mother working at my heart,
Combats with justice! O, ye spirits impure I
Who hover o'er this earth, whose business is
To numb the feelings of th' assassin's soul,
Dry up each pity-flowing tear, and change
Meek nature's tenderness to cruelty.
O breathe a portion of your fury here,
That this parental weakness may not check
My duty to my country, and mankind 1
Car. What means Clotilda i
Clot. I scarcely know myself, for in my mind
Confusion reigns, and unavailing grief.
Detested murder ! to the common eye
AQ III. AMBITIOUS VKNGEANCE. I49
That seem'st most shocking, how dost thou appear
View'd thro' the anguish of a mother's love !
Car. Alas ! thy words strike terror to my soul.
Clot. Ah me ! 'tis I who caus'd Theresa's death.
By bearing such a monster; so 'twere just,
I should receive the bursting punishment
Due to his crimes.
Car. Quick, quick, Clotilda I free my lab'ring breast
Of this severe suspense.
Clot. In yon blue vault, methinks Theresa sits,
Calmly resplendent, as the fuU-orb'd moon,
When rising from the wat'ry waste, she throws
Her lustrous pearls upon the tossing waves.
Yet sadness hangs upon the maiden's brow.
To mark the torments of her brother's guilt.
And base ambition's triumph over virtue.
Perchance, she raises now some hallow'd hymn,
'Midst glowing seraphim, and cherub pure,
T' implore the mercy of all-pitying Heaven
Upon her murderer.
Car. O speak thy thoughts, lest cruel expectation
Break my sad heart before I know the worst.
Clot. I must not, will not screen him, tho* he is
Dearer to me than life, or life's best joys*
Nor will I see his bloody hands defile
The crown of Milan — 'tis Theresa's voice,
From the chill sepulchre, that cries for justice,
AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AH III.
And I'll obey the call of her, and truth.
Know then, most royal Carlo ! yesternight,
When my lov'd sov'reign took her flight to Heaven,
As chance I lay a stranger to repose,
I heard a shrill shriek issue from the chamber
Where slept the royal maid. I started up,
And op'ning cautiously my door, beheld
Alberto quit her room, with silent tread;
And as he passed me by, he inly mutter'd,
** The deed is done, my hopes are ratified!'*
Car. Why didst thou not inform me so before,
At our first interview ; for had I known it
One hour ago, ere this he'd been in hell.
Clot. Think on the struggles of a parent's weakness.
That could not suddenly devote her child
To sure destrudlion, and dark infamy.
And now I do repent of what I've done,
For desp'rate anger frowns upon thy brow.
And evil will betide him. Do not, Carlo !
Snatch my poor son from penitence, and pray'r,
For he has need of utmost length of days.
To mourn his crimes, and make his peace above.
I must retire— but O be merciful ! [Exit,
Car. And could ambition thus defile thy soul,
Once brave Alberto ! could the linsel train
Of servile touitiers, or the bauble crown,
Allure thy spirit to so damn'd a deed ?
AS III. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 15I
man ! how weak is all thy boasted virtue I
When strong temptation urges thee to wrong ;
Nay, since my once-lov'd friend is sunk thus low,
1 of myself am void of confidence.
Yet here I tear all friendship from my breast,
And pledge myself to vindicate the wrongs
Of lov'd Theresa — yes, my sword shall pierce
The unrelenting traitor's coward heart.
^15. My noble friend ! it is to thee I come
To ease my throbbing breast, and share thy woes !
So shall soft sympathy, perhaps, beguile
The grief that knows no cure ; how, how is this?
Methinks with vengeful brow, and fierce disdain,
Thou look'st reproaches on me. Righteous Heaven !
I recolle6l me now, his brain's disturb'd. [Aside.
call me to thy mind, illustrious Carlo!
1 am Alberto, who has fought beside thee.
Car. Do not, Alberto! calm thy guilty fears
With supposition that my reason errs ;
It err'd alone, when I conceiv'd thee just,
Friendly and honourable ; but it knows thee now,
A soul-contra6led hypocrite, and a villain.
Alb. Alas! poor youth, he thinks not what he says,
Lost in a labyrinth of mingled woe.
Subdue thy rage, my best-beloved Carlo !
152 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A8 III.
Nor wound my ears with such affli6tive sounds
Of vile upbraidings, and discordant frenzy.
Car. Attend my words, — when first my soul receiv'd
The dreadful tidings of Theresa's death ;
As right I deem'd, by treachery procur'd ;
Convulsive nature own'd a sudden weakness ;
And sunk beneath a momentary madness ;
But now I know myself; thee too I know,
I know thee for a low ambitious coward,
False to thy friend, thy country, and thy sister,
A traitor every way, and, more, a murderer.
Alb. No further tempt my moderation, Carlo f
Nor cast such false indignities upon me :
Lest I, forgetful of all tender ties.
Should scorn the social bonds of host and friend.
And, punish thee for such unjust suspicion.
I am no traitor, and no coward I.
Car, Say, was it noble, generous and brave.
To steal, at midnight, with a ruffian's step,
And bathe thy hangman's hands in innocent blood?
Was it a brother's love, a soldier's pride.
That urg'd the deed ? 'twas damnable ambition ;
Which bade thy shameless spirit wish to reign.
Go, reign a slave, and be thy state thy curse.
But first I dare thee draw thy tarnish'd sword
In vilp support of crime, while I will come
Arm'd with the fury of despairing love,
And rage of injur'd friendsliip to th? combat,
A61 III. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. 1.53
Alb, Then be it so, I shall not wish to fail thee. —
Car, Name thou some hour and place of solitude,
Sacred to gloomy death, and grim revenge.
Fit for the solemn confli6t ; tiiere to prove
If infamy, or justice, shall prevail.
I once did love thee well, that time is o'er,
And now I call thee forth with deadly hate ;
For be assured, or thou, or T must fall.
Then if to me the victory belong,
Theresa from her bless'd abode shall smile.
Alb. 'Tis like she may ; and let me add, I praise
Thy val'i'ous bearing as a soldier should.
Nor will I shrink thro' consciousness of crime.
Or dread of all thy haughty menaces.
Near to the ivy-crowned mausoleum
Of Milan's royal race, where wither now
The beauties of Theresa, is a spot
That suits our purpose well ; I'll there confront thee.
'Tis just without the gates, and soon as e'er
The sickly nwon shall raise her blunted horns
Above th' horizon, and around be heard
The far wolf's famish'd bowlings, that awake
The flitting screech-owl's melancholy cry,
There shall thy uish'd-for triumph be complete.
Car. Nor shall it wait me long, for even now,
O'er the still landscape beams the chrystal orb,
Whose fun'ral lamp, shall light thee to thy grave.
I go to meet thee, so till then, adieu. lExeunU
J54 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A3 III,
Moonlight. The Mausoleum of the Dukes of Milan.
Clot. O how congenial to my gloomy soul
Are these dumb horrors! hide thy lucid face,
Thou melancholy moon ! for sure thou throw'st
With too much luxury, thy glitt'riiig beams,
T' adorn this mould'ring mansion of the dead.— —
O rather rise, ye rending hurricanes !
Loaded with lamentation, and despair,
And sooth my ear with desolating song.
Such is the musick I require, to breathe
In solemn unison with my dark designs ;
And ye, unconscious relifls 1 that repose
In silent satire of magnificence,
That free from human cares, and wild desires.
Own the relentless tyrant's putrid sway.
All hail ! I come to rouze your dull abode
With busy crime ! And thou, Theresa's shade t
Let me appease thee now, for here I wait
To slay the base destroyer, and to place
Thy murder'd murderer beside thy corse.
Methinks the viftim lingers I haste, Arnaldil
Receive thy recompense, for lo ! the end
[PMts her Hand upon a Dageer.
A61 in. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I55
Of all thy expe6lations meets thee here.
Yonder he comes, I hear his eager step
let me steel my bosom to its purpose !
Arn. Obedient to thy wish, behold me here ;
But tell me why thou didst appoint a time
When all the virtuous court the arms of sleep,
And mischief wanders forth ? why this drear scene,
Where silence watches the remains of death ?
It is most strange. Alas ! my mind forebodes
Some over hanging evil : Speak, Clotilda !
Clot. Hear then, Theresa in this tomb reposes;
A few hours past interr'd ; for so I order'd ;
Lest by delay might be incurr'd some danger.
Now, in the hurry of the time, with her
The richest diamond of the state was buried j
Which sparkled on her finger ; that t' obtain,
1 pray'd thy presence here ; afraid to explore
Alone, the darksome vault of grisly Death.
Then guide my steps, Arnaldi! and protect me
From apprehension of creative terror;
So shall the jewel in reward be thine.
Here, take the key, and wrench the iron bolt.
That holds in bondage vile the race of Milan.
Arn. 'Tis well that I, the minister of death.
Should frjm the dead receive my just reward.
156 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB UL
Thou dreary chamber I ope thy hungry jaws,
[He unlocks the Sepulchre.
And let the living enter; — Hal see there,
Yon glimm'ring lamp a paly lustre sheds
On cold Theresa's cheek; outstretch'd she lies
In deep repose I gave ; — within my breast,
Ten thousand horrors dwell, and sad remorse
Sits thron'd a tyrant — mark, in awful range,
The sov'reign house of far-renowned Milan,
Lie side by side in social nothingness.
And, lol Theresa! still she seems to reign
O'er the dull kingdom of relentless death j
Herself the bridal partner of his sway.
I cannot enter, for my trembling knees
Forget their office, and unusual dread
Hangs on my spirits — forward, brave Clotilda f
And tear the glowing jewel from her hand.
While I await thee here.
Clot. Dost thou, inur'd to crimes of blackest dye^
School'd in all villany, and lost to shame,
Presume to shudder now, and hesitate,
Like a young maiden, o'er her lover's grave?
Come on then, boldly — when I lead the way.
Thou sure may'st follow. Hark ! I hear the steps
Of some approaching, let us quick retire
From curious observation.
[They go into the Mausoleum, and shut t&e Gateib
AH III, AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I57
Enter Alberto and Carlo.
Alb. This is the sepulchre where sleeps Theresa,
And her illustrious ancestors ; and here,
If chance thy arm should vindicate her wrongs,
I too shall rest.
Car. Draw, draw thy sword, nor work upon my
But be the noble youth my love once spoke thee,
Ere thou hadst lost thyself, and kill'd Theresa.
Alb. I scorn to talk of innocence to thee.
Since that thou know'st me not ; yer much I mourn
The deep regret, and anguish thou prepar'st thee.
Car. War not with words, Alberto! I despise
Such mean, unmanly murm'rings ; draw thy sword, —
Theresa's injuries rising to my thought,
Inflame my rage, and shall dired my blade
To the cijrst bosom of her base destroyer.
[They fight, ALBERTO throws himself upon the Sword of
Alb. Thanks to thv sword, mv Carlo! it is done,
And I no longer shall offend thy sight.
Nor suffer thy upbraidings ; — yet 'tis strange,
In youth's gav prime to close the languid eye
Upon the splendid piffure of the world.
And break each fond attachment : but, farewell!
158 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. A61 III,
The various interests of aflive life,
The social intercourse of friendly men,
And glory's luring charms, all, all farewell!
I now must be a banquet for the wornw
Car. Why didst thou throw thee on my sword
Without a contest ? didst thou wish to die,
And spare thy once lov'd friend ? But O ! forgive
The vengeful stroke , that robs thee of thy life.
And leaves me to despair ; so gracious Heaven
May pardon thee the murder of Theresa.
Yet wliile thou canst, confess the fatal deed
For which I pierc'd thy bosom, so shall I
Better compose my mind, — thou die the better.
Alb. Suppose me guilty. Carlo! of the a6t
For which 1 die, lest grief, and sad remorse,
Prey on thy youthful days: I love thee well,
And wish thee happy, and may Heaven bestow
Mercy on me, as freely I forgive thee.
Thou'st adled nobly. Carlo I as became thee !
And if thou e'er shouldst think that thou hast err'd,
Remember, error is the lot of man.
I bleed apace, and visionary forms
Crowd o'er my senses, — i must pause awhile.
Car. Spare me, ye muiist'ring pow'rs
Of Heaven's high vengeance ! rather, rather crush me-—
He's innocent ! O mark his dying brow.
Free from all symptom of disturbing guilt ;
A^ III. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. I59
Yes, he is innocent, and I myself
Am the dark-minded monster, and the murderer.
[A shriek is heard in the Mausoleum, which opens, and CLOTILDA
is seen retiring from THERESA, who advances in her sepul-
chral robe. CARLO starts, and ALBERTO raises himself in
Clot. O glare not on me thus, thine eye's reproach
Is worse than hell 1 cannot bear thy sight.
Tho' torments wait me at the hour of death.
Yet, while I live, thou hast no pow'r to punish.
Ther. Where am I ! do I live ! what means this scene
Of desolation, sepulchres, and death ?
There's one does bleed near the cold couch I left,
And here's another.
Car. It is herself! it is the beauteous maid
Who lives and speaks ! O welcome from the tomb
To thy own Carlo's arms, who hither comes
To screen thee ever from a brother's rage.
Ther. My thoughts return, tho' wav'ring reason
In wild uncertainty on all I see,
And all I hear, — but, thus let me enfold
The youth I love — yet 'twas no brother's rage
That drove me to the tomb ; it was Clotilda
Sent the dull cup Arnaldi's hand presented,
And which I drank in part, but pour'd aside
The remnant unobserv'd : since then I've slept.
Car. Now malice thou'rt content — mv sum of ill
l6o AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AB UL
Cannot be greater, nor my punishment
Exceed my just deserving O Alberto !
Clot. A curse attend thy parted soul, Arnaldi I
For inattention ; all had been secure
If she had drank the calming bev'rage up.
But I have had my premature revenge;
Yonder Arnaldi lies; 'twas I that kill'd him.
Why did I come to ope thy prison gates,
Abhorr'd Theresa? else thou'dst surely perlsh'd.
Ye furies fierce, who bathe your snaky locks
In liquid flame ! Clotilda is your own.
Tlier. O I do not rave thus bitterly I
I will forgive thee all ; nor shall revenge
Tempt aught against thy life or thy repose.
Clot. Curse on thy mimic moderation,
Thy shallow virtues, and offensive goodness.
I hate thy clemency, thy pardon scorn,
And fly from such humanity to hell.
[stabs herself and falls.
What have we here ? Alberto slain! 'tis he !
This must be Carlo's deed— T triumph now.
Gentle Theresa ! view this bleeding youth.
Who lov'd thee tenderly ; I die revengM. Oh I
Ther. What sayst thou, does my dear Alberto die ?
Car. Inhuman fiend ! 'twas thou didstpoint my sword
[Carlo to Clotildas
Against his life ; yet stay, O stay my friend I
j4Q UI. AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. l6l
And I will wash thy wound with my heart's blood.
Wretch that I was to give implicit faith
To such apparent shallow artifice.
Is there no fiery bolt of righteous Heaven
To end my woes, and save me from distraflion ?
Ther. Did Carlo wound thy gen'rous breast, Alberto!
Then must each hope of future happiness
Fade in the blossom. Therefore will I seek
Some holy monastery's lone retreat.
And pour at early dawn the fervent hymn
For thy dear soul's repose — and all night long
Will I solicit mercy for my Carlo 1
Yet, yet thine eye has lustre, thou hast breath,
Couldst thou but live, this were a world of joy I
Alb. The hand of death weighs pond'rous at my heart.
And life's vain dream is o'er ; yet, ere I go,
hear me and assent. Theresa, Carlo !
1 pray you check your tears, and promise me
That ycu will wed 'Tis true, indeed, my friend!
Thou gav'st the stroke, but it was I that sought it.
Thou, like an honourable prince, defy'd'st me,
T' avenge th' imagin'd murder; I too proud
To pause, explain, or lead thee from thy error.
Treated accommodation with disdain.
But rush'd upon thy sword to prove my truth.
Ol then, Theresa ! here accept thy husband.
If that thou wouldst my spirit should have peace.
Car. It is too much I
Vol. L L
l62 AMBITIOUS VENGEANCE. AEl IIL
I'her. I will accept him at thy hand, Alberto!
And cherish love amidst eternal sorrow.
Alb. And wiltthou, Carlo! wilt thou take thismaid?
Car. Yes; I receive this offer'd excelience
With gratitude and mingled admiration
Of more than human greatness, O, Theresa 1
Here let me hold thee till my Ufe shall end,
With sad contrition for my past offence.
Tumultuous grief returns, I scarce can utter.
Once more thy pardon, noble-minded friend I
Alb. Name it not, Carlo I for no dark resentment
Glooms my calm breast ; it was a deed of chance,
And mutual hastiness. My blessing on you —
Long may you reign in peace, and each new day
Greet you with happinessl But, for Clotilda, O
Pity ! nay more, ftrgive her, Ro\al Pjirl
Implore Heaven's mercy on her guilty soul,
And stiive by frequeiit piay'rto melt its justice— —
*Tis all 1 ask — nor is it pain to die, \_Dies,
END OF VOL. I.